الأحد، 5 أغسطس، 2012

Usain Bolt Wins Gold In 100 Meters, Setting Olympic Record At London Games (PHOTOS)

0 التعليقات

Bolt
Jamaica's Usain Bolt crosses the finish line to win gold in the men's 100-meter final during the athletics competition in the Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Usain Bolt is back.
Racing against a star-studded field in which every qualifier ran faster than 10 seconds in the semifinal, Bolt successfully defended his 2008 gold medal in the 100 meters by setting a new Olympic record of 9.63 seconds.
Yohan Blake of Jamaica took silver in 9.75 seconds, with Justin Gatlin of the United States capturing bronze in 9.79 seconds. A training partner of Bolt who twice defeated him at the Jamaican Olympic Trials, Blake equalled a personal best with his runner-up time. Also setting or equalling personal best times were Gatlin and Ryan Bailey of the United States, who finished fifth.
While Bolt did not better the world record mark of 9.58 seconds that he established in Berlin in 2009, he did best the 9.69 time he posted in the event at the 2008 Olympics.
Continue reading →

How To Burn Calories Like An Olympian

0 التعليقات

Calories Olympic Athletes
A week into London's 2012 Olympic games, we at Healthy Living are hooked, watching live streams from our desks andre-watching the broadcasts from the couch at night.
But while we've been, um, sitting, our favorite athletes have been torching serious calories on their way to the medal stand. Not to state the obvious, but as those flawless abs, strong shoulders and rock-solid thighs illustrate, our Olympians are intip top shape, blasting thousands and thousands of calories, all in a day's work. In fact, Mayo Clinic researcher Michael Joyner told The New York Times that elite athletes can burn 15-20 calories a minute (then multiply that for a four, five or six hour training session).
While we mortal desk jockeys can't compete, why not take a page from our favorite athletes this weekend, allowing their feats of fitness to inspire us to get up off the couch and get moving? Whether you're moved by soccer stars or record-setting swimmers, we rounded up 15 popular sports from the summer Olympics, along with the amount of calories we (non-Olympians) can expect to burn in a half hour spent on each activity. All counts are approximate and based on a 150-pound person, unless otherwise noted. Let the games begin!
Continue reading →

Michelle Rounds Desmoid Tumors: Rosie O'Donnell's Fiancee's Condition, Explained

0 التعليقات

Michelle Rounds Desmoid Tumors
Michelle Rounds, fiancee of Rosie O'Donnell, is recovering after undergoing surgery for desmoid tumors, according to news reports.
People magazine reported that Rounds hadthe surgery in June. The couple has decided to postpone their wedding until next summer because of Rounds's illness, O'Donnell wrote on her blog.
"Desmoid tumors, odd and curious beasts, strong and sneaky, a non cancer that acts cancerous," O'Donnell wrote on her blog. "Only 900 cases a year in the US, an orphan disease -- beyond rare, only 3 people per million get this, michelle is one of them."
According to the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation, desmoid tumors -- also known as aggressive fibromatoses -- are considered benign, but that doesn't mean they aren't dangerous because they grow quickly just like cancer.
The tumors grow in the soft connective tissue in the body, but can also spread to other nearby tissues and organs, the Mayo Clinic reported. They can even grow into bone.
Desmoid tumors are most common in men and in people between the ages of older childhood up until the 40s, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Symptoms usually include feeling some sort of lump -- sometimes painful -- in the arm or leg. However, symptoms can become more severe -- limiting mobility -- depending on where the tumors grow.
The location of the tumors could also bring up other health concerns. For example, if the tumors form in the abdomen, it could lead to rectal bleeding or other GI symptoms, according to the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation.
The tumors are diagnosed with imaging tests like ultrasound, MRI or CT scans, or with a biopsy, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Surgery is usually the best way toremove desmoid tumors, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reported, though radiation therapy and drugs (like NSAIDs and Cox II inhibitors) could also help.
Continue reading →

Twitter And Facebook Might Soon Replace Traditional Teacher Professional Development

0 التعليقات
Twitter Teacher
This piece comes to us courtesy of The Hechinger Report's HechingerEd blog.
Twitter and Facebook might soon replace traditional professional development for teachers. Instead of enduring hours-long workshops a few times a year, teachers could reach out to peers on the Internet in real time for advice on things like planning a lesson (or salvaging a lesson that's going wrong), overcoming classroom management problems, or helping students with disabilities.
Or, at least, that's what a group of Internet-savvy educators who convened in New York City this week are hoping.
"Being connected [through social-networking sites] is an opportunity for growth anytime, anywhere," said Steve Anderson, director of instructional technology for theWinston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in North Carolina, speaking yesterday at the second annual #140edu conference, a reference to Twitter's 140 character limit for tweets. A teacher can go on Twitter, he added, and "learn 10 new things."
Traditional forms of on-the-job training for teachers have been much-maligned in recent years by experts and by teachers themselves. "Many times professional development is like herding cattle: We're taking everybody in the same direction. We're going to learn the same thing," said Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford High School in northern New Jersey.
For-profit companies, nonprofits and universities make lots of money providing training to schools, but little research exists on what types of professional development for teachers work best. Increasingly, schools and districts are adopting what experts say are more promising ways of training teachers that involve more coaching and teacher collaboration.
But some educators who attended the #140edu conference want to push the envelope further, to make teacher training even more individualized and self-directed. Among the attendees were teachers and principals who keep blogs documenting their daily travails and successes in the classroom, which work as guideposts for others and forums where they can glean tips. Some have thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook friends.
Kyle Pace, an instructional technology specialist for the Lee's Summit School District, near Kansas City, gave an example of how personal networks and crowd-sourcing on the Internet could improve on the old ways of training teachers:
"A teacher could be teaching a lesson on the Civil War. That lesson could bomb. They could go to their network, pose a question, ask for a resource. In the next period they could have new resources, things to try immediately," he said.
"Traditional professional development can't offer that immediacy of being a connected educator," Pace added.
In-person interaction shouldn't be completely discarded, however, said Sheninger, who says he has revolutionized his school partly through help from people he met via Twitter. "I value my face-to-face connections more than I do my virtual ones," he said. "Technology flattens our ability to connect with people. It just makes things easier. It's not the only way I connect with people."
Indeed, at the conference, a room set aside for in-person mingling and chatting was often more crowded than the auditorium where panelists were giving their talks.
Continue reading →

L.A. Community High School Closing: USC Students Launch Indiegogo Campaign To Keep It Open

0 التعليقات

La Community High School
Two University of Southern California students have launched an Indiegogo campaign in hopes of raising $10,000 by Aug. 10 so Los Angeles Community High School will be able to reopen for the 2012-13 school year and continue to serve its 35 students.
Located in Watts -- an area that ranks among the worst in California in school dropout rate, crime and poverty -- L.A. Community High School is a private credentialed alternative school for teens that have been kicked out or have dropped out of high school. It was founded in 1995 by Kimi Lent, a former kindergarten teacher-turned-gang expert, and Fred Smith, who grew up in the projects of Watts.
According to the campaign’s description, Lent and Smith take a holistic approach to education -- focusing not just on academics, but also social, moral and physical health. They write letters to courts on behalf of their students, and work directly with probation officers in an effort to assist with rehabilitation.
As students at nearby University of Southern California, Eric Johnson and Hunter Kubryk say they “often turn a blind eye to the constant struggle of our neighbors.” In addition to setting up an Indiegogo page, Johnson and Kubryk released a corresponding video that showcases the positive impact LACHS has had on the lives of its students.
According to the video, 38.4 percent of students did not graduate high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2012. By comparison, L.A. Community Highboasts a 93 percent graduation rate, with nearly all of these students being first-generation high school graduates. Of its graduates who were once involved in the criminal justice system, 79 percent are now employed, in job training or attending college. To date, the alternative school has graduated 641 teens and adults with high school diplomas.
LACHS is registered with the State of California’s Board of Education in collaboration with the Los Angeles Computer Science Academy, and is part of the non-profit Community Restoration Services. The school has run out of funding, however, and must close its doors for the upcoming school year unless the appropriate funds are raised. $10,000 is necessary by Aug. 10 in order to prepare for a Sept. 4 opening day, with an additional $20,000 required by the first of October, December and March to keep L.A. Community High School operating through 2012-13.
Thus far the campaign has raised nearly $600 and will remain open through Aug. 17.
Continue reading →

Spiral Galaxy, Supernovas Shown In ESO PHOTO Of NGC 1187

0 التعليقات
By: SPACE.com Staff
Published: 08/01/2012 10:59 AM EDT on SPACE.com
A scintillating spiral galaxy that played host to two supernova explosions in the past 30 years takes center stage in a new image captured by a telescope in Chile's high desert.
The galaxy NGC 1187 is located about 60 million light-years away, in the constellation of Eridanus (The River). The European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope in Chile captured the most detailed image of this impressive spiral galaxy.
Two separate supernovas have exploded within NGC 1187 since 1982, with the latest one occurring in 2007, ESO officials said in a statement. Supernovas are violent explosions that occur when a star has reached the end of its life. These blasts are some of the most energetic events throughout the universe, and can briefly outshine entire galaxies before they fade away over the course of several weeks or months.
spiral galaxy supernova
In fact, during the explosion, supernovas can radiate energy comparable to the amount the sun is expected to emit over the course of its entire life, according to ESO officials in an announcement unveiling the new image today (Aug. 1).
The first supernova found in NGC 1187, officially called SN 1982R, was detected in October 1982 at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert. The second one, called SN 2007Y, was spotted by amateur astronomer Berto Monard in South Africa in 2007. [Amazing Pictures of Supernovas in Deep Space]
Astronomers studied SN 2007Y in great detail, and monitored the supernova using several different telescopes for about a year. This newly released image of NGC 1187 was created from observations that were taken from this roughly year-long study.
Supernova SN 2007Y can even be seen, long after the period of its maximum brightness, near the bottom of the image, ESO officials said.
The photo shows NGC 1187 almost face-on, which offers a clear view of the galaxy's mesmerizing spiral structure. Roughly half a dozen wispy spiral arms can clearly be seen, with bluish specks indicating the presence of stars being born from the clouds of gas and interstellar dust.

Continue reading →

Mars Rover: Crash Of Curiosity Would Throw NASA's Red Planet Program Into Doubt

0 التعليقات
By: Mike Wall
Published: 08/04/2012 09:18 AM EDT on SPACE.com
If NASA's newest Mars rover doesn't touch down safely Sunday night (Aug. 5), the future of Red Planet exploration could be thrown into serious doubt.
The 1-ton Curiosity rover's main goal is to determine if Mars can, or ever could, support microbial life. But the huge robot is also carrying the hopes and dreams of NASA's venerable Mars program on its back to some extent, so a crash Sunday night could be devastating.
"It could take the entire Mars program down with it," Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, which pushes for human settlement of the Red Planet, told SPACE.com's Leonard David. "It is victory or death."
Big funding cuts
President Barack Obama's 2013 federal budget request, which was released in February, slashes NASA's planetary science program funding from $1.5 billion to $1.2 billion, with further cuts expected in the coming years.


Much of the money will come out of NASA's robotic Mars exploration program, which has enjoyed a string of successes in the past decade. After landing in January 2004, for example, the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity discovered plenty of evidence that Mars was once warmer and wetter than it is today. And the Phoenix lander found subsurface water ice near the planet's north pole in 2008.
Nevertheless, the White House budget proposal cuts NASA's Mars funding from $587 million this year to $360 million in 2013, and then to just $189 million in 2015. [NASA's 2013 Budget: What Will It Buy?]
As a result, NASA was forced to drop of out the European-led ExoMars mission, which aims to deliver an orbiter and a rover to the Red Planet in 2016 and 2018, respectively. And the agency is fundamentally restructuring and downscaling its Marsprogram, in an attempt to figure out how to make the most out of every precious dollar.
But NASA planetary science officials still hold out hope for a funding comeback, with the help of Curiosity. They think the rover's discoveries could loosen politicians' pursestrings and reinvigorate the agency's robotic exploration efforts.
"What a tremendous opportunity it is for us," Jim Green, head of NASA's planetary science division, said at a conference in March. "I believe [Curiosity] will open up that new era of discovery that will compel this nation to invest more in planetary science."
Sticking the landing
So a successful landing on Sunday night is of paramount importance to the space agency, officials have said.
Curiosity's touchdown "could arguably be the most important event — most significant event — in the history of planetary exploration," Doug McCuistion, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, said last month.
But success is not a given. Landing a robot on another planet is never an easy task, and Curiosity's touchdown will perhaps involve more hand-wringing than usual.
Because it's so heavy, engineers had to devise an entirely new landing method for the rover. A rocket-powered sky crane will lower Curiosity to the Martian surface on cables, then fly off to intentionally crash-land a short distance away. Such a maneuver has never before been tried on another world.
If success over the course of the mission could bring great dividends to NASA's Mars program, then failure Sunday night could have a chilling effect. [How Curiosity's Nail-Biting Landing Works (Pictures)]
"I think if we are fatal on landing, that will have a very negative influence," said Caltech's John Grotzinger, lead scientist for Curiosity's $2.5 billion mission, which is officially called the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).
"It's going to force people to look back and ask if it's possible to achieve these very complex, more demanding missions from a technological perspective," Grotzinger told SPACE.com. "How can you talk about sample-return if you can't do MSL first?"
Keeping the program vital
NASA has one more Mars mission firmly on the books beyond MSL, an atmosphere-studying orbiter called Maven that's due to launch next year. The agency plans to launch another mission in 2018 or 2020, partly to keep the program vital.
But a Curiosity crash could persuade some talented scientists and engineers that there's not much of a future at Mars, at least not for a while, researchers say.
"If this thing were to fail, I think a lot of people would trickle away and do other things," said Ken Edgett, of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego. Edgett is principal investigator for Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager instrument, or MAHLI.
He added that a crash might spark discussions within NASA about shifting resources from Mars to other promising destinations, such as Jupiter's moon Europa, which harbors a liquid-water ocean beneath its icy shell.
"I don't like that either-or scenario, but I think that's where we're headed," Edgett told SPACE.com in April.
Mars keeps calling us
Edgett stressed, however, that he didn't think a landing mishap would be the end of the Mars program. Other experts echo that viewpoint, saying that Mars will continue to hold our interest and draw our scientific explorers back.
"It's one of the most scientifically compelling objects in the solar system — perhaps in terms of ease to get to, the most compelling," said Scott Hubbard of Stanford University. "And it's the place, ultimately, for human exploration. So I think Mars exploration will continue."
Hubbard speaks from experience. He's the former "Mars Czar" who restructured NASA's Red Planet program after the agency's Mars Polar Lander and Mars Climate Orbiter both failed in 1999.
Still, success would definitely be preferable for those who care about Red Planet exploration. A strong showing by Curiosity could lead to bigger things down the road at Mars, Hubbard said.

Continue reading →

Ryan Lochte's Parents Face Foreclosure In Florida

0 التعليقات

Ryan Lochte Parents Foreclosure Florida Olympic
DELAND, Fla. -- The parents of U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte are facing foreclosure in Florida.
According to a lawsuit filed in May in Volusia County, CitiMortgage is suing to foreclose on Steven and Ileana Lochte. The bank is seeking to recoup $250,000. The news was first reported by TMZ.
Court records show that Ileana Lochte asked the court to dismiss the case last month. Messages left Saturday for her attorney were not immediately returned.
The Lochtes divorced last year. Court records did not show whether Steven Lochte had an attorney. Both parents have been in London recently to watch their son compete.
Ryan Lochte has won five medals, including two gold medals, in swimming events at the London Olympics.
Continue reading →

London 2012: What It's Like To Cover The Olympics From New York

0 التعليقات
Olympics
NEW YORK — Between Olympic soccer matches, NBC analyst Marcelo Balboa fields texts and emails from friends who ask him, "How's London?"
He wouldn't know. The three-time World Cup participant turned sportscaster is one of many at NBC covering the Olympics from a cubby equipped with a television monitor in New York, one of a warren of them lined up in the studio where "Saturday Night Live" usually originates. NBC has a team of 650 people working on London Olympics coverage from New York.
Outside of the soundproof booth's closed door, you wouldn't be able to hear Balboa if he shouted, "goooaaallll!" That's so as not to disturb Jason Knapp and Rich McKinney, calling an archery match from a different booth a few steps away.
A row of desks and computer monitors is the operations center for all of the video streams of competition that NBC offers on its Olympics website. An intern from Elon University edits footage for a stream dedicated to weightlifting. Some interns fetch coffee on their summer vacation; this one operated a network
In the seats where the "Saturday Night Live" audience usually sits, another crew is responsible for inserting commercials into the various video streams.
John McGuinness leafs through a sheaf of papers behind a desk in a control room, within sight of dozens of monitors providing video feeds of different sports taking place simultaneously across the Atlantic. The papers are a schedule of the day's events as they are due to be shown on NBC, the NBC Sports cable network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo and Telemundo.
While McGuinness, coordinating producer of NBC Olympics at Home, is allowed some flexibility to move things around, "you can't do this without a detailed schedule," he said.
McGuinness essentially coordinates the hours of coverage, many of them live, shown during the daytime on the various networks. He's in before 4 a.m. when competition is beginning in London and escapes to a nearby hotel for a couple of hours of sleep when NBC's prime-time telecast is on.
The New York operations center, used in past games but expanded for London, is set up to save money but also because there are limits to how many credentials NBC can get to operate in London.
While NBC hosts Bob Costas, Al Michaels and Dan Patrick work from studios in London, there's a separate studio down the hall from "SNL" where Kelly Tilghman sits. She's the host of MSNBC's daytime coverage.
Similarly, the announcers for swimming, gymnastics and basketball work at arenas in London but for many of the less popular sports like wrestling, team handball, badminton, field hockey, fencing, archery and shooting the work is done out of New York.

The announcing team works in one part of each cubby, with a producer and, perhaps, an assistant in the other half. They keep contact with the venue in London in case there are questions that need answering.
"If it happens away from the ball, that's the toughest thing," McGuinness said. "Unless they show a replay of something, that could be the hardest to cover."
Balboa was in Athens covering soccer for NBC in 2004, and in Beijing in 2008. With the U.S. men's team not qualifying for the games, NBC bet on less interest in the tournament. Balboa has had experience calling some professional soccer games remotely from Colorado. It's not ideal, but before high definition he'd sometime have trouble catching the players' numbers. That's no worry now.
He misses most the opportunity to see the whole field and feel a crowd's energy. The former player in him would like a better chance to see how a play is developing, yet he's at the mercy of the video feeds. He also resists speculating on injuries when all he has is a camera view, waiting for an official report if a player goes down.
If he were in England, he'd only be able to do one game a day with matches spread across different locations. In New York, he calls a couple of games a day.
"We get to see a lot of the teams before the first round is over," he said. "That's a huge advantage."
In calling archery, McKinney misses most not being able to tell how hard the wind is blowing, and in what direction. He watches for flags on the television monitor to give him clues about the conditions the athletes are facing. As a four-time Olympian with two silver medals, McKinney calls on his experience: being able to see a competitor's eyes gives him clues about what they are thinking.
During a recent telecast, McKinney described how the archers compensate for the wind by aiming just off the target depending on the direction it is blowing.
McGuinness said the New York-based on-air personnel don't try to pretend they are in London when they aren't. In Tilghman's studio, the backdrop is a New York skyline.
Continue reading →

NBC: 'No Offense Was Intended' By Commercial That Played After Gabby Douglas Win

0 التعليقات
NBC says no offense was intended by a poorly timed promotional ad featuring a monkey on gymnastics rings that aired on the network directly following a commentary by Bob Costas on Gabby Douglas' gold medal inspiring other African-American girls to take up the sport.
The gymnastics-themed ad for the upcoming NBC comedy "Animal Practice" was specifically timed to run late Thursday night following the women's gold medal competition. NBC said it was scheduled to run before the network knew about Costas' commentary.
"Much of America has fallen in love with Gabby Douglas," Costas said. "Also safe to say that there are some young African-American girls out there who tonight are saying to themselves, 'Hey, I'd like to try that, too.'"
Then NBC switched to the commercial with the small, widely grinning monkey on the rings. Blacks in the past have been disparagingly referred to as monkeys to the point where it is considered a common slur.
"Gabby Douglas' gold medal performance last night was an historic and inspiring achievement," said NBC Universal spokeswoman Liz Fischer. "The spot promoting 'Animal Practice,' which has run three times previously, is one in a series with an Olympic theme which have been scheduled for maximum exposure. Certainly no offense was intended."
It's the second time during the Olympics that a promotional ad has proven troublesome for NBC. It ran a "Today" show promo showing swimmer Missy Franklin holding her first gold medal a few minutes before airing the race where she won it.
RATINGS: Ratings continue very strong for NBC. Thursday night's prime-time telecast, featuring Douglas' win and a gold medal swim by Michael Phelps, was seen by 36.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen. That's 7 million more than the corresponding night four years ago in Beijing. NBC also said that five Olympic events have been streamed online by at least 1 million people. The top event, streamed 1.46 million times, was the U.S. women's gymnastics team winning the gold medal Tuesday, followed by Phelps' gold medal swim over Ryan Lochte.
BRANDI TIME: Been a rough Olympics for soccer analyst Brandi Chastain, what with Hope Solo trashing her on Twitter. Let's give Chastain some credit for prescience. Coming out of halftime of the U.S. team's 2-0 win over New Zealand on Friday, she preached patience for the U.S. team, noting the Americans had squandered scoring opportunities by rushing things near the opposition goal. Within three minutes, American Alex Morgan did precisely what Chastain had been pointing out, hurrying a shot that went wide right.
WEATHER: Jim Cantore is taking some time off from The Weather Channel to provide London forecasts as part of Olympic coverage (his network is owned by NBC Universal). Friday was beautiful, but Cantore suggested the good weather was short-lived. "It's going to get a little ugly and it can certainly impact the track and field events," he said.
PLAY THE GAME: Beach volleyball analyst Kevin Wong didn't take it easy on American defending gold medal winners Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhousser during their upset loss to Italy on Friday, criticizing them for having "no energy, no emotion." After one missed shot, he said, "Phil stops playing. Get in there and play the game."

Continue reading →

Mihaela Ursuleasa Dead: Renowned Romanian Pianist Dies At 33

0 التعليقات
Mihaela Ursuleasa
BERLIN — Internationally renowned Romanian pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa has been found dead in her apartment in the Austrian capital, Vienna. She was 33.
The musician's agent, Andreea Butucariu, said in a statement from Berlin Friday that Ursuleasa had died on Thursday from the effects of a cerebral hemorrhage and asked for her family's privacy to be respected. Police in Vienna confirmed the cause of death.
Butucariu told Romanian media that Ursuleasa had recently cancelled two concerts in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, on unspecified health grounds.
Ursuleasa began playing the piano at 5 years old under the guidance of her Gypsy jazz musician father in then communist Romania. She obtained a grant to study in Vienna at 12, a year after communism collapsed.
She went on to play at New York's Carnegie Hall, with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester in Berlin, with Orchestre National de France and also with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Romanian soprano Felicia Filip on Friday reminisced about Ursuleasa's debut. "In my mind's eye I see the child lost in the immensity of the piano," she told Romanian news agency Mediafax, referring to one of the pianist's first public performances. "I recall a child who couldn't reach the piano pedals," she said.
"Mihaela was a huge pianistic talent with great musical instincts," said Bill Capone, managing director of Arts Management Group, who represented her. "Her untimely passing is very tragic and left those who knew her as an artist and person deeply saddened."
Ursuleasa is survived by a 5-year-old daughter. In a statement on the pianist's website, Butucariu asked that promoters "that had invited Mihaela for the next months" contribute towards an account for her daughter.
He said her funeral would be held next week, but provided no details where she would be buried.
"Artists like Mihaela are those who give us hope, help us feel and make us understand that music, and also art, prevails above everything else; that it makes us advance as human beings," Butucariu said in the statement.
"They make us realize that we are on the right path when we open not our eyes and ears but our hearts to listen, expecting music making to move us and take us someplace else. This is what Mihaela's music did."
Continue reading →

18th-Century Mummies Help Medical Researchers Study Tuberculosis In Hungary (PHOTOS)

0 التعليقات

Mummy Medical Research
One of the 265 mummies which is resting in cardboard box in the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest, Hungary.
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — One wears a prim white bonnet. Another sticks out its tongue, hands resting over abdomen. A third clutches at its chest, mouth seemingly frozen in a scream. They are faces from the past, trapped in the appearance they bore when laid to rest nearly 300 years ago.
And disturbed from their eternal sleep, these mummies may help unlock the secrets of the immune system.
Resting in cardboard boxes in long rows of cabinets on the top floor of the Hungarian Natural History Museum in Budapest, the 265 mummies are helping scientists find new ways to treat tuberculosis.
Buried between 1731 and 1838 in the crypt of a Dominican church in the northern Hungarian town of Vac, the naturally-preserved mummies were forgotten for decades and discovered in 1994 during the church's renovation. They had lain in gracefully-painted pinewood coffins, some decorated with pictures of skulls.
The mummification process happened thanks to the favorable microclimate inside the crypt, including low temperatures and relatively constant humidity and air pressure. Wood chips placed under the bodies in the coffins absorbed fluids, so instead of decomposing, the bodies gradually dried out – preserving them in an astonishingly lifelike state.
Reflecting a wide sample of Vac residents, the mummies include three nuns, 30 priests, the wife and child of the local postmaster, surgeons, the founder of the Vac hospital and first director of the town's school for the deaf. "What was probably the most exciting and most comprehensive study was the one about tuberculosis," said Ildiko Pap, head of the Department of Anthropology of the Hungarian Natural History Museum. "In some of the individuals, the traces of the mutations on the bones caused by tuberculosis are evident to the naked eye."
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 1.5 million people died of tuberculosis in 2010, when 8.8 million new cases were reported. Around one-third of the world's population, over 2 billion people, has latent tuberculosis, which means they have been infected by the bacteria but do not show symptoms of the illness and cannot transmit the disease.

Pap said that all but 99 of the mummies have been identified and a large trove of information has been gathered about most of them, thanks to birth and death registers in the church, the names and dates on the coffins and other research done since their discovery.
The tuberculosis studies are being carried out in collaboration with experts from University College London and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Eighty-nine percent of the mummies, ranging in age from newborns to over 65, had at one point been infected with tuberculosis and around 35 percent were suffering from the disease at the time of death. The strains of tuberculosis found in the people buried in Vac offer a unique chance to study the pathogens from a time before the development of antibiotics and prior to the spread of the Industrial Revolution.
The discovery of penicillin and subsequent development of other antibiotics in the 20th century virtually wiped out diseases such as tuberculosis that were once major killers in developed countries.
But the overuse and misuse of drugs have allowed old bugs to fight back and eventually overpower antibiotics, rendering some useless.
"We can say that 89 percent of these people were infected by tuberculosis or its pathogen during their lifetime," Pap said. "Their immune system was likely better than ours. If we could locate some gene sections and discover why they were more resistant to tuberculosis than us, then that could be of great assistance to modern medical science."
She said that the study of the mummies could lead to the development of new tuberculosis medication or the discovery of genetic changes that have affected our reaction to the disease.
Dr. Ruth McNerney, senior lecturer in Pathogen Biology and Diagnostics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that the research on the Hungarian mummies could provide a historical reference for the development of the disease.
"These samples were taken from before drugs were around ... so they represent early TB," said McNerney, who is not connected to the mummy research. "If we can pin down areas in the DNA of these mummies and see how they differ from modern (DNA), it might help us understand why modern TB drug resistance is developing."
Forensic expert Agnes Kustar has been working on the facial reconstruction of one of the most striking mummies in the lot – Baroness Antonia Tauber.
She was a nun descended from a prominent family, had a pronounced humpback and suffered from tuberculosis. Contemporary records describe the baroness as an excellent teacher – `zealous and loveable, a kind soul.'
To carry out facial reconstruction, experts need a detailed CT scan of the mummy, which gives a 3D picture of the skull. It can then be transformed into a plastic model identical to the original face.
This mummy has a special place in the hearts of the team.
"She has become a familiar person to us," said Kustar. "We were able to get to know her face and through it her whole personality."
undefined

undefined
Continue reading →

Derek McGlone, Teacher, Tries To Get Out Of Work By Lying That He Ran Over And Killed A Girl With His Car

0 التعليقات
Derek Mcglone
Music teacher Derek McGlone, 42, lied to school officials, saying that he had just run over a girl with his car, in order to get off work for the day.
There's faking sick, and then there's telling your employers that you just killed a small child.
42-year-old teacher Derek McGlone was well known at Calderhead High School in Scotland for making up stories to get out of work, the Telegraph reports. At an August 1 hearing of the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS), McGlone admitted to lying on a number of occasions between June 2008 and May 2011.
In his most egregious fabrication, the music teacher told school officials that he had just run over a little girl with his car, according to UPI.
"He said he felt his car wheels running over her body," Calderhead High School head Joyce Kilmartin wrote in an official statement.
On another occasion, McGlone called from his home in Glasgow, claiming he was stuck in a volcanic ash cloud in Iceland.
At the Council, McGlone took heat not only for his lies, but for his reaction to being reported. After discovering that some of his colleagues at Calderhead had made statements about his conduct to the GTCS in April 2011, McGlone went on a"drunken rant" over Facebook. He admitted to the Council panel that he referred to his coworkers as "bitches" and wrote that he would "hunt them down," according to the Scottish Sun.
McGlone resigned later that year, the Mirror reports, but now says he wants to return to teaching.
"I can give no reasonable explanation for my actions," he told the Council, adding that he was "embarrassed and sorry."
The hearing panel concluded that McGlone's behavior "falls short the standards expected of a registered teacher." He received a reprimand that will remain on his record for 12 months.
The GTCS is an independent professional body with duties that include maintaining educational standards and keeping a registry of teachers in Scotland.
Continue reading →

Eric Glisson, Convicted Of Murdering Baith Diop, Says He Was Wrongfully Convicted

0 التعليقات

Eric Glisson
Eric Glisson (R), 37, with his attorney, Peter Cross, at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in New York.
NEW YORK -- Earlier this year, a man locked up more than 15 years for murder wrote federal prosecutors in Manhattan telling them what he'd said all along and what authorities hear from inmates all the time: that he was wrongly convicted.
But in this instance, Eric Glisson also named members of a violent drug gang he suggested were the true killers. It was a shot in the dark. But it turns out he may be right.
Authorities and defense attorneys say the letter has become a catalyst for a possible reprieve for Glisson and four other people serving time for the 1995 slaying of a cab driver in the Bronx – a homicide all say they didn't commit.
"I'm pretty optimistic I'll be released," Glisson told The Associated Press in a brief phone interview Friday from Sing Sing prison, 30 miles north of New York City.
"It's been an uphill struggle," he added. "But I've always believed right will overpower wrong."
After reinvestigating the case at Glisson's urging, federal prosecutors provided new evidence to the Bronx district attorney. The findings have not been made public, and a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment.
But The New York Times reported Friday that they include an affidavit from a federal investigator who reviewed the case and concluded that the evidence was "overwhelming" that two convicted gang members "acting alone, robbed and shot" the Bronx cabbie.
When the 37-year-old Glisson heard federal authorities were prepared to take the rare step of vouching for a state convict's innocence, "I was elated," he said. But the elation subsided when Bronx prosecutors, after being presented with the new evidence at a meeting last month, balked at admitting they botched the prosecution.
Prosecutors told Glisson's attorney, Peter A. Cross, he would have to file a motion asking a judge to order a new trial – a process that could take months.
In his statement, District Attorney Robert Johnson said his office was taking the matter seriously, but had "not yet been able to resolve all of the questions that have been raised by this evidence." His spokesman declined to comment further on Friday.
Livery cab driver Baith Diop was gunned down on Jan. 19, 1995, amid a rash of taxi driver murders around the city. Press accounts had described how, according to police, the Senegalese immigrant begged for his life before being shot in the back and neck. Ballistics showed that he was shot with two .38-caliber handguns that were never recovered.
Rather than treat the crime as a fatal holdup, New York Police Department detectives and prosecutors linked it to a complex conspiracy by a band of drug dealers involved in the execution-style killing of a woman two days earlier. Investigators alleged that Diop was killed as part of a related scheme to steal a pile of drug money that one of his passengers was carrying that night.
At the first of two trials, three men were convicted in both the killing of the woman and Diop. At the second, a jury found Glisson and another defendant guilty in the cabbie homicide. All received lengthy sentences.
Glisson's lawyer said that as the years passed, his client exhausted all his appeals before writing the letter to federal prosecutors. In it, he said he had heard that the cabbie killing was the work of a gang called Sex, Money and Murder or SMM.
The letter, though addressed to a prosecutor who had left the office, by coincidence made its way into the hands of an investigator who was a former Bronx homicide detective familiar with SMM, the Times reported.
The names of two SMM members rang a bell: Both had confessed to killing a Bronx cab driver in late 1994 or early 1995 – an admission that couldn't be corroborated at the time – after becoming cooperators in 2003.
The investigator re-interviewed the two men. They described again how they were riding in a cab together when they decided to rob the driver. When he put up a fight, they shot him and jumped out of the car without knowing whether he was dead.
Glisson's hope that the investigator's belief in his innocence is his ticket to vindication is tempered by years of disappointment.
Continue reading →

Child Porn Ring Uncovered Using Stuffed Toy Bunny

0 التعليقات
Child Porn Ring Uncovered
These undated booking photos, taken by the national police in The Netherlands and provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, show Robert Mikelsons, who was sentenced in Amsterdam on May 21, 2012, to 18 years in prison for abusing dozens of babies and toddlers. A child pornography investigation, which began when a Massachusetts man sent a photo of a young Dutch boy to an undercover federal agent in Boston, led to the arrests of 43 men in seven countries, including Mikelsons, and helped
DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press
BOSTON — The men came from different walks of life on two continents: a children's puppeteer in Florida, a hotel manager in Massachusetts, an emergency medical technician in Kansas, a day care worker in the Netherlands. In all, 43 men have been arrested over the past two years in a horrific, far-flung child porn network that unraveled like a sweater with a single loose thread.
In this case, the thread was a stuffed toy bunny.
The bunny, seen in a photo of a half-naked, distraught 18-month-old boy, was used to painstakingly trace a molester to Amsterdam. From there, investigators made one arrest after another of men accused of sexually abusing children, exchanging explicit photos of the attacks and even chatting online about abducting, cooking and eating youngsters.
Authorities have identified more than 140 young victims so far and say there is no end in sight as they pore through hundreds of thousands of images found on the suspects' computers. They are also trying to determine whether the men who talked about murder and cannibalism actually committed such acts or were just sharing twisted fantasies.
The still-widening investigation has been code-named Holitna, after a river in Alaska with many tributaries.
"They are the worst of the worst," said Bruce Foucart, agent in charge of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement agency's Homeland Security Investigations unit in Boston. "This isn't just a child that's nude and someone's taking pictures of him; this is a child that's being raped by an adult, which is horrific."

The case began to unfold when Robert Diduca, a Sheraton hotel manager from Milford, Mass., sent the photo of the Dutch boy to an undercover federal agent in Boston. Diduca, a married father of three who used the screen name "Babytodd," thought he was sending the picture to another man with a sexual interest in babies and toddlers.
Agents forwarded the photo to Interpol, the international police organization, and to several other countries.
An investigator for the Dutch police recognized the stuffed bunny as Miffy, a familiar character in a series of Dutch children's books. She also traced the boy's orange sweater to a small Amsterdam store that had sold only 20 others like it.
The boy's photo was broadcast on a national TV program similar to "America's Most Wanted." Within minutes, friends and relatives called the child's mother.
Robert Mikelsons, a 27-year-old day care worker who baby-sat the boy, was arrested. On his computer were thousands and thousands of images of children being molested and raped, including the boy holding the stuffed bunny.
Photos and online chats found on computers owned by Diduca and Mikelsons led to more than three dozen other suspects in seven countries, including Canada, Britain, Germany, Sweden and Mexico. The oldest victim in the Netherlands was 4, the youngest just 19 days old.
Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, whose office prosecuted Diduca, said the demand for photos of sexual assaults of young children, including babies and toddlers, has increased sharply in recent years.
"This demand leads to the abuse of children, yet there is this misconception that somehow, viewing child pornography is a victimless crime," said. "It clearly is not."
Diduca pleaded guilty to child porn and sexual exploitation charges and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. His lawyer, Richard Sweeney, said Diduca was sexually abused as a child by a Boy Scout leader. "He gets it, he knows he needs to be punished, he knows what he did is wrong," Sweeney said.
Mikelsons also received an 18-year sentence, followed by indefinite psychiatric commitment, after confessing to sexually abusing more than 80 children.
The horror did not let up after the Mikelsons case.
In May, authorities arrested Michael Arnett of Roeland Park, Kan., after finding pornographic photos he allegedly produced. Agents discovered the pictures when they searched the computer of a Wisconsin man who had been chatting online with Mikelsons.
What they found on Arnett's computer was unlike anything some of the investigators had ever come across: long, graphic, online chats about his desire to abduct, kill and eat children. They said he had also made photos of a naked 2-year-old boy in a roasting pan inside his oven. The child and two other boys Arnett allegedly abused and photographed were later identified and found alive.
In July, authorities arrested four men they say had online discussions with Arnett about kidnapping and eating children. Those arrested included Ronald Brown, a children's puppeteer from Largo, Fla. (A YouTube video shows Brown during an appearance on a Christian TV kids show in the 1980s. In the video, he tells a child puppet that he did the right thing by refusing to look at "dirty pictures" some other youngsters tried to show him.)
In excerpts of an online chat between Arnett and Brown from 2011, the two men appear to be discussing their desire to cook a child for Easter.
"he would make a fine Easter feast," Arnett says.
"yes, his thighs and butt cheeks would be fantastic for Easter," Brown responds.
A lawyer for Arnett would not comment on the allegations. Brown's lawyer did not return calls.
Prosecutors said Brown acknowledged his online conversations but said that it was all a fantasy and that he would never hurt anyone.
"Obviously the discussions regarding their claims of cannibalism are disturbing and a concern to our agency," said ICE spokesman Ross Feinstein. He said agents are following all leads "to make sure these individuals didn't follow through on any of their claims."
To find the young victims, investigators carefully studied thousands of photos, read hours of Internet chats and worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They also employed some forensic wizardry.
After finding a video on Diduca's computer of a bound, 2-year-old boy being raped, investigators enhanced the images of furniture and carpet and determined the attack took place in a motel room in Bakersfield, Calif.
Then they pinpointed the date by way of a TV that was playing in the background in the video, figuring out exactly when a particular episode of "Family Matters" aired along with a certain Pepperidge Farms commercial.
A man from Black Forest, Colo., was arrested and is awaiting trial.
Similarly, in the Arnett case, investigators discovered that a water bottle in one of the photographs carried the name of a swim and scuba center in Overland Park, Kan. With the help of teachers at an elementary school, they identified three children shown in the photographs, including the toddler posed in the roasting pan.
The mother of one of the boys said she initially did not believe the allegations against Arnett, a family friend for about 15 years. She said her son, now 7, and several nephews often spent weekends at Arnett's home four or five years ago.
"Well, when we first got the phone call, we thought there's no way. You guys got the wrong guy," she said. The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual abuse or their families.
But then investigators showed her photos Arnett had allegedly taken of her son with a shirt and no pants.
"Regret? For sending my son with a sick-minded guy, that's the only regret I have. I had no idea," she said. "It's depressing."
For the agents working on the case, the leads never seem to end.
Last week, they arrested another Massachusetts man after finding child pornography and photos of what appeared to be dead children on his computer. He allegedly had online chats with Arnett and Brown.
More arrests are expected.
"The agents that work for me are extremely driven on this type of investigation," said Bart Cahill, assistant agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. "They really believe that they are taking out horrific violators and saving kids."
___
Continue reading →