Showing posts from April 10, 2016

Gardening Giant Ortho to Drop Chemicals Linked to Bee Deaths

One of the largest home and garden pesticide makers in America is halting its use of a chemical blamed for killing honey bees.

Among several possible causes of bee deaths and colony declines research has implicated a family of chemical pesticides called neonicotinoids – neonics, for short. Even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is still researching the connection, Ortho announced this week it will start eliminating the chemical in all of it’s products.

The company’s general manager Tim Martin said “It’s time for Ortho to move on” from neonics.
Europe banned the neonic-laced pesticides in 2013, and Ontario became the first region in North America to ban neonics last year.

Ortho’s announcement comes just as Maryland lawmakers passed a bill that would restrict the sale of home and garden pesticides containing neonics. The governor is still considering whether to sign it.

The company says some of their products will be reformulated to work without the chemical while others will b…

Former Students Raise $185,000 for Retiring Beloved School Security Guard

He was the last person many students saw as they departed the school on graduation day, and the one person who could be counted on to remember them whenever they returned.

Kifleab Tekle, affectionally known as “Kief,” spent 30 years shepherding the girls at the private school, helping them cross the street as kindergartners and making sure they were safe teens until they headed off to college.

Even years later, after they left Hockaday School in Dallas, Texas, visiting alumni would be greeted at the front desk by a smiling Kief, instantly recognizing them, calling them by name, and asking about their family members.

When alums heard Kief was retiring this week, they decided to raise money for a gift. The Class of 2005 hoped to raise $2005 symbolic dollars.

Even the organizers were stunned when their GoFundMe page raised $185,000 — nearly 2,000 people chipped in.

Kief was shocked and overwhelmed by the outpouring of gratitude. Just like the names he’s remembered for 30 years, this gesture i…

Daily Inspirational Quote - April 16, 2016

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”

It doesn’t take strength to do what we do every day as normally it involves just going along with whatever we have to in order to earn a living, run a household, a social life etc. etc. We do what we know we have to because that’s what life usually entails, just getting on with it. Strength comes into play when things don’t go the way we expect or want, and we doubt ourselves in being able to cope and overcome successfully. Much easier for us to ignore or expect someone else to sort things out for us. However, finding the strength to do it ourselves this time enables us to cope better the next time, and the next………..


An Unforgettable Meeting with a Reclusive Genius

Becoming increasingly intrigued by painter Agnes Martin, Hadi Tabatabai took a chance and sent the famously reclusive artist a small painting of his own. To his surprise, she responded warmly and extended an open invitation for a visit. A year later, he traveled to Taos, New Mexico to meet her. Here's the account of that meeting.

NASA Responds on Facebook to Climate Change Deniers Who Dissed Bill Nye‘s Science

When climate change doubters misrepresented NASA findings in response to a Facebook post by Bill Nye, the space agency launched a series of corrections to set the facts straight.

Nye, “The Science Guy,” had posted a thread about prominent climate change critic Marc Morano turning down Nye’s $20,000 bet that 2010-2020 would be the hottest decade on record.

The comments quickly turned into a debate with facts and figures being tossed around — some of them carelessly.

“Riiiiight,” commenter Fer Morales wrote, “Despite NASA confirming that fossil fuels are actually cooling the planet’s temperature, and that there’s more ice than in the last century in the polar caps. . .”

But NASA has never said anything of the sort, and the space agency, which generally avoids such social media back-and-forths, blasted-off with a series of charts, graphs, and other data, and chastised those who misquoted the agency’s findings.

“Do not misrepresent NASA,” the space agency responded using its NASA Climate Chang…

Han Solo With Epileptic Daughter Auctions Jacket for $191K to Benefit Seizure Research

Ryan Bort

The jacket Harrison Ford wore in Star Wars: The Force Awakens—you know, the brown leather bomber with those three little canister things above the breast—just sold at auction for $191,000.

In March, Ford announced he was donating the Han Solo duds to an auction benefiting Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES) and NYU's Langone Medical Center, where Ford's daughter has been undergoing treatment for epilepsy. “I’ve been very impressed with the work NYU and the FACES team have done in the field of epilepsy research, and I hope this jacket will provide some means to further that exploration,” Ford said in a statement at the time. “This is a cause that’s near and dear to me, and unlike the cynical Han Solo, I’ve got a good feeling about this.”

The minimum bid on the iconic jacket was a mere $18,000, so NYU and FACES have to be thrilled that the piece of Star Wars history closed at over 10 times where it started. Ford also signed and dated the inside of the jacket…

Deals Will Have You Spinning – On Record Store Day 2016

Tufayel Ahmed

The advent of iTunes, Spotify and even TIDAL has made accessing music as easy as a few clicks. But there’s something to be said for going into your favorite record store and picking up an album.

Now in its ninth year, Record Store Day celebrates independent record shops and takes place on Saturday. The event has expanded from humble origins to now include exclusive releases from indie artists to those as famous, and disparate, as Bob Dylan and Justin Bieber.

In fact, new research by polling company ICM suggests that sales of vinyl are actually on the rise in Britain, thanks in part to Record Store Day. The BBC reports that half of those polled first listened to an album online before buying it—physically—on vinyl.

Figures show that 637,056 records have been sold in the first three months of 2016 already in Britain. Comparably, in 2014, 2.1 million LPs were sold in the entire year.

On Record Store Day 2016, fans will be clamoring to get their hands on exclusive vinyl releases…

Pack Your Bags: Free Admission Next Week For All National Parks

If you’ve ever wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, this week is the time to do it.

In honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the U.S. agency is waiving admission fees for all national parks and monuments during National Park Week– April 16th through April 24th.

Though camping fees will still apply, 410 different parks are opening their doors to accept visitors from near and far for the celebration–not only wilderness areas, but historical sites like Gettysburg, Jamestown and the Wright Brothers Monument, and homes of presidents, like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman.

“We have an amazing variety of special events taking place during the centennial,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Some commemorate our first hundred years, but many others look to the future, to the next 100 years, and will help connect with and create the next generation of park visitors and supporters. It is through them that America’s lands and stories will be preserved and p…

What Drives Success, Hard Work or Luck?

ByJill Suttie

A new book debunks the myth of meritocracy and offers recommendations for creating a more equitable society.

My husband is a successful lawyer at a national law firm and works on cases he feels passionate about, mainly toxic tort and consumer protection lawsuits. He is definitely a hard worker and a very smart, talented person. But, as he will readily admit, much of how he got to where he is has to do with luck, too—being in the right place at the right time and connecting with someone who believed in him. This random path to success is the subject of a new book,Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy, by economist Robert Frank of Cornell University. Though we Americans tend to think that we are the masters of our own destiny and that hard work pays off, we are only partly right: Many of us succeed at work and in life because of luck, too. Frank gives plenty of examples from his own life to illustrate how luck made a difference. We learn of his own two nea…

Generosity: The Most Powerful Animating Force of Art

Annie Dillard notes, "People love pretty much the same things best. A writer, though, looking for subjects asks not after what he loves best, but what he alone loves at all...Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands? Because it is up to you. There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain because you have never read it on any page; there you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment."

Sean Parker Gives $250 Million for Immunotherapy Cancer Research

Sean Parker, known as the co-founder of Napster and first president of Facebook, has just donated $250 million to create a new center for immunotherapy cancer treatment research.

The Parker Institute For Cancer will be a collaboration of over 40 laboratories and 300 researchers working together to cure the deadly disease. Medical universities such as Stanford Medicine and the University of California will also be participating.

As simple as a flu shot, the treatment causes cancer cells to self-destruct leaving patients – like beloved former President Jimmy Carter – cancer-free without having to undergo the trials of chemotherapy. After five years of research, the survival rate was 97% for patients who’d been in early stages of prostate cancer and 94% for patients facing a more aggressive form of the disease. That’s 20% better than average survival rates.

“We are at an inflection point in cancer research and now is the time to maximize immunotherapy’s unique potential to transform all can…

Stephen Hawking and Billionaire to Hunt Aliens

Anthony Cuthbertson

The latest venture by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner in his quest to find alien life is set to be unveiled by Stephen Hawking on Tuesday.

Starshot is the latest project in Milner’s decade-long search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), which he set up in July 2015, under the banner Breakthrough Initiatives.

Milner, whose net worth is estimated to be $2.9 billion by Forbes, has pledged $100 million towards Breakthrough Initiatives, making it the biggest hunt for alien life ever staged. 

“In the last five years, we have discovered that planets in the habitable zone of stars are common,” Breakthrough Initiatives’ website states. “Based on the numbers discovered so far, there are estimated to be billions more in our galaxy alone. And there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the visible Universe.

“Yet we are still in the dark about life. Are we really alone? Or are there others out there? It’s one of the biggest questions. And only science can answer it.”


One of the World’s Top Aging Researchers has a Pill to Keep You Feeling Young

Anti-aging promises have been around since Ponce de Leon went looking for the Fountain of Youth, but the latest promising news comes from an MIT researcher with five Nobel winning experts advising him.

Dr. Lenny Guarente is packing decades of anti-aging research from his Massachusetts Institute of Technology lab and other leading universities into a pill made from all-natural ingredients.

The natural approach will let Guarentee and his Elysium Health co-founders, Eric Marcotulli and Dan Alminana, speed their product to market. Using natural components means they can’t patent their pills, but lets the company bypass the years-long FDA approval process.

The pills rely on sirtuins, a group of enzymes linked to metabolism that have been shown in research to extend lifespans of mice and other animals. It was Guarente’s Center for Scientific Aging Research at MIT that conducted some of the first groundbreaking research into sirtuins.

Harvard researchers expanded on his findings when they discov…

Can Helping Others Keep You Sober?

ByJill Suttie

New research suggests that helping others—and the sense of belonging it brings—can help alcohol and drug addicts stay sober.

Alcoholism and drug addiction are often intractable illnesses. Many addicts and alcoholics relapse within 6-12 months of treatments that can include detoxification, drug therapy, behavioral therapy, and group counseling. But there might be a secret weapon in the fight against addiction: helping people. While other researchers look for ways to improve prescription drug regimens or talk therapies,Maria Paganoof Case Western University has focused her attention on the addict’s social connections. In studies spanning over a decade, she and her colleagues have shown that having a supportive network, reducing isolation, decreasing social anxiety, and—especially—helping others can increase the chances of staying sober by up to 50 percent. Her findings suggest that addiction should not be characterized solely as a failure of individual willpower, but must be vi…