Thursday, February 27, 2014

72% of Online Adults are Social Networking Site Users

72% of Online Adults are Social Networking Site Users
The number of social networking site users continues to grow

As of May 2013, almost three quarters (72%) of online U.S. adults use social networking sites, up from 67% in late 2012. When we first started asking about social networking sites in February 2005, just 8% of online adults said they used social networking sites.

In addition to asking about general usage of social networking sites in our current survey, we included a stand-alone question about Twitter and found that 18% of online adults are now Twitter users.  This is roughly double the 8% of online adults who used Twitter in November 2010, the first time we asked about Twitter as a stand-alone platform.

Today, social networking site use is a major activity for internet users from a wide range of demographic groups. Younger adults are especially avid adopters, but social networking continues to grow in popularity for older adults as well. Six out of ten internet users ages 50-64 are social networking site users, as are 43% of those ages 65 and older.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

California couple strikes gold after finding $10million of 19th century coins buried on their property

couple strikes gold after finding $10million
A Northern California couple out walking their dog in February 2013 on their Gold Country property stumbled across a modern-day bonanza: $10million in rare, mint-condition gold coins buried in the shadow of an old tree.

Nearly all of the 1,427 coins, dating from 1847 to 1894, are in uncirculated, mint condition, said David Hall, co-founder of Professional Coin Grading Service of Santa Ana, which recently authenticated them.

Although the face value of the gold pieces only adds up to about $27,000, some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly $1million apiece.

Experts say it's likely whoever owned the property 150 years ago buried the coins as a kind of California gold rush-era bank - to save as an investment and for a rainy day. The coins were then forgotten for over a century.

'I don't like to say once-in-a-lifetime for anything, but you don't get an opportunity to handle this kind of material, a treasure like this, ever,' said veteran numismatist Don Kagin, who is representing the finders. 'It's like they found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.'

Kagin, whose family has been in the rare-coin business for 81 years, would say little about the couple other than that they are husband and wife, are middle-aged and have lived for several years on the rural property where the coins were found. He first met the couple last April.

They have no idea who put the the coins there, he said.

The pair are choosing to remain anonymous, Kagin said, in part to avoid a renewed gold rush to their property by modern-day prospectors armed with metal detectors.

Read more: 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sun emits its strongest solar flare of 2014 - releasing radiation into space at 4.4 MILLION mph

Sun emits its strongest solar flare of 2014
The sun's period of peak activity may be beginning to fade, but our star doesn't plan on moving out of its 'solar maximum' quietly.

At 00.49 GMT this morning, a huge sunspot released a massive X4.9-class flare - the biggest of 2014.

Because of its location on the sun's southeastern limb, the flare is not expected to impact satellites or radio communication, scientists claim.

'Radio emissions from shock waves at the leading edge of the cornoal mass ejection (CME) suggest an expansion velocity near 2000 km/s or 4.4 million mph,' said

'If such a fast-moving cloud did strike Earth, the resulting geomagnetic storms could be severe. However, because its trajectory is so far off the sun-Earth line, the CME will deliver a glancing blow, at best.'

The flare follows a newly-released image of the strongest solar flare to be pictured by Nasa's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (Iris) since it launched in the summer of 2013.
On January 28, an M-class flare -- which is the second strongest class flare after X-class – erupted from the sun, sending light and x-rays deep into space.

Iris peers into a layer of the sun's lower atmosphere just above the surface, called the chromosphere, with unprecedented resolution.

However, the probe can't look at the entire sun at the same time, so the team have to anticipate where they will see the most solar activity.

Earlier in January, the sun unleashed a massive solar flare seven times the size of Earth from one of the largest sunspots seen on the star’s surface.

The stunning X1.2-class flare, the first major one of the year, peaked at 6:32pm GMT on January 7th and followed on the heels of a mid-level flare earlier in the day.
Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Their energy travels at the speed of light to reach Earth in just eight minutes.

At Earth, a part of the atmosphere called the ionosphere absorbs it.
Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground.

However, when intense enough, flares can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

This disrupts the radio signals for as long as the flare is on-going, anywhere from minutes to hours.

The latest flare already delayed the launch of a private cargo ship to the International Space Station which was due to lift off today.

The sun is currently in an active phase of its 11-year solar weather cycle. The current cycle, known as Solar Cycle 24, began in 2008.

In November, the sun fired off a similarly huge solar flare causing a wide-area blackout of high frequency signal.

Read more: 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Research: Switching to a vegetarian diet could cut blood pressure (and has the same effect on readings as losing nearly a stone)

Switching to a vegetarian diet could cut blood pressure
Eating a vegetarian diet is likely to keep your blood pressure low - and switching to it could cut your readings, claim researchers.

A new study shows a vegetarian diet can lead to reductions in blood pressure similar to losing three-quarters of a stone in weight.

The diet achieves around half the drop expected from prescription drugs, according to the study from Japan.

The latest study follows previous research suggesting a vegetarian diet may reduce heart disease risk, and even lead to longer life compared with non-vegetarians.

It is thought the benefits come from lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels in people eating low-fat diets based on vegetables, whole grains and fruit.

An estimated three million Britons, around five per cent, are vegetarian and never eat meat or fish, including superstar musician Paul McCartney and his fashion designer daughter Stella McCartney.
Blood pressure is measured by checking two readings. Systolic is the pressure inside arteries when the heart is forcing blood through them and diastolic is the pressure when the heart relaxes.
Using a reading given in millimetres of mercury - written as mmHg - doctors can determine if it is high or low.

The latest study analysed seven clinical trials and 32 studies from 1900 to 2013, which involved people eating a vegetarian diet.

In the trials, participants eating a vegetarian diet had systolic blood pressure almost 5mmHg lower than those eating meat and fish.

The fall was almost 7mmHg lower in the studies, says a report in JAMA Internal Medicine.
For diastolic blood pressure, the differences were 2.2 mmHg in trials and almost 5mmHg in studies.
The researcher from the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, Osaka, said this was equivalent to dropping 5kg (11lbs) in weight or pursuing a low-sodium diet, and half the benefit found with modern medication.

'A reduction in systolic blood pressure of 5mmHg would be expected to result in a seven per cent, nine per cent and 14 per cent reduction in mortality due to all causes, coronary heart disease, and stroke, respectively,' says the report.

The main reason for the difference is thought to be the effect of a low-fat vegetarian diet on cholesterol and blood pressure, partly through avoidance of red meat and also from higher consumption of vegetables.

Eating more vegetables and fruit may also help through their antioxidant effects, combating harmful naturally occurring chemicals in the body.

Official advice from the Department of Health in 2010 said cutting down on red meat could reduce the risk of bowel cancer.

Findings from the largest British study of 45,000 Britons last year found vegetarians have healthier hearts than people who eat meat or fish.

They were one-third less likely to need hospital treatment for heart disease or die from it.

Read more: 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Research: What do women want? It depends on time of month

UCLA researchers analyzed dozens of published and unpublished studies on how women's preferences for mates change throughout the menstrual cycle. Their findings suggest that ovulating women have evolved to prefer mates who display sexy traits -- such as a masculine body type and facial features, dominant behavior and certain scents -- but not traits typically desired in long-term mates.

So, desires for those masculine characteristics, which are thought to have been markers of high genetic quality in our male ancestors, don't last all month -- just the few days in a woman's cycle when she is most likely to pass on genes that, eons ago, might have increased the odds of her offspring surviving and reproducing.

"Women sometimes get a bad rap for being fickle, but the changes they experience are not arbitrary," said Martie Haselton, a professor of psychology and communication studies at UCLA and the paper's senior author. "Women experience intricately patterned preference shifts even though they might not serve any function in the present."

The findings will appear online this month in Psychological Bulletin, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

Whether women's mate preferences shift at high fertility has been a source of debate since the late 1990s, when the first scholarly studies to hint at such a change appeared. Since then, several papers have failed to replicate the early studies' results, casting doubt on the hypothesis.

Haselton and Kelly Gildersleeve, a UCLA doctoral candidate in psychology and the study's lead author, spent three years attempting to resolve the controversy. They solicited raw data from dozens of scholars who have conducted research on the topic and then translated the data from 50 studies into the same mathematical format so that the findings could be statistically analyzed together.
The strength of women's preference shift proved to be statistically significant, although "small" to "medium" in size, relative to most findings in the field. As a point of comparison, the size of the shift was statistically comparable to the difference researchers have found between men's and women's self-reported number of heterosexual sex partners (with men reporting more sex partners).

The findings are less clear, however, about which male characteristics are most alluring to ovulating women. But women's responses to male body scents could be capable of producing the strongest effects, Haselton said.

In the few scent studies conducted so far, researchers asked women to smell T-shirts that had been worn by men with varying degrees of body and facial symmetry. (Across a large body of research on many different animals, body and facial symmetry are associated with larger body size, more pronounced sexual "ornaments" such as the attractive plumage on male birds, and better health, suggesting that symmetry could be an indicator of genetic quality.) Women preferred the odors of more symmetrical men when in the fertile portions of their cycles. The UCLA meta-analysis likewise showed a large shift in women's preference for the body odor of symmetrical men, although more studies are needed to determine whether this effect is robust.

Haselton, who is based in UCLA's College of Letters and Science, is one of a handful of pioneers in research on behavioral changes at ovulation. One of her studies showed that women who are partnered to men they view as less sexy are more likely to experience attraction to other men at ovulation than women who rate their male partners as very sexy.

"The excellent reputation Martie has among researchers in this field and her deep understanding of the intricacies of ovulation research make her an ideal person to spearhead this ambitious meta-analytic study," said Jeffry Simpson, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota. "Her extensive knowledge of this area coupled with the fact that she and her collaborators were able to identify the specific features of men that women find most appealing as short-term versus long-term mates at different points of the ovulatory cycle makes this paper a truly important one."

The presence of shifts in sexual preferences among women may generate debate, but shifts in sexual preferences and behavior are well documented in mammals as diverse as rats and orangutans. For example, female chimpanzees are known to prefer to have sex with different males within the fertile phrase than they prefer outside of this phase -- a strategy thought to improve their offspring's chances of survival.

"Until the past decade, we all accepted this notion that human female sexuality was radically different from sexuality in all of these other animal species -- that, unlike other species, human female sexuality was somehow walled off from reproductive hormones," Haselton said. "Then a set of studies emerged that challenged conventional wisdom."

One hypothesis for why a mate preference shift occurs is that it may be an evolutionary adaptation that served our ancestors' reproductive interests long before modern medicine, nutrition and sanitation dramatically reduced infant and child mortality rates.


Bed-ridden by a rare illness, this 22-year-old cured herself with healthy eating - and now her recipe app is number one on iTunes

Bed-ridden by a rare illness, this 22-year-old cured herself with healthy eating
A self-confessed 'sugar monster', who was struck down with a rare illness that attacked her nervous system and left her bed-bound.

In an effort to turn her life around, Ella Woodward, 22, embraced a fully vegan lifestyle and managed to beat her illness - and launch her own successful business.

In 2011, Ella was diagnosed with a relatively rare illness called Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS.

The syndrome effectively breaks down your autonomic nervous system: the system that controls everything that is meant to happen automatically in the body - so your heart beat, digestion, circulation and immune system.

Speaking to MailOnline, Ella said: 'As you can imagine this had a pretty devastating effect on my life. I literally couldn’t walk down the street, I slept for 16 hours a day, was in chronic pain, had blackouts, never-ending heart palpitations, unbearable stomach issues, constant headaches - the list goes on.'

Ella, who lives in London, was bed-ridden 95 per cent of the time and prescribed conventional medication and steroids for about six months but they didn’t make much difference so she decided to make a change herself.

'I began researching natural healing which is how I came to change my diet. Overnight I gave up refined sugar, gluten, dairy, anything processed or refined and meat,' she said.

'It was a huge change from someone that lived off a delicious mixture of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream; mountains of Cadbury’s caramel chocolate, lots of fizzy pick-n-mix and millions of jars of peanut butter and strawberry jam eaten with a spoon.

'I noticed a difference after just a few weeks of eating well though and 18 months later I was able to come off all the medication - which I should have been on for life - and now feel absolutely amazing.'
Ella tracked her progress and shared all her favourite recipes via an online blog, Deliciously Ella.
She quickly saw her internet fame sky rocket, garnering 77,000 Instagram followers, who avidly follow her colourful 'food porn' snaps and enthusiastic attitude to clean living.

Ella, who is currently studying nutrition, was so inundated with recipe requests that she decided to launch an app.

'I wanted to launch the app to make my recipes more accessible,' she said.
'Blogs are amazing, and I’m so grateful to mine for giving me such a great platform to explore other ideas, but it’s just not practical to scroll through 30 pages of blog to find a dinner recipe.
'I also wanted to include some detox and meal plans to inspire people to try giving this way of eating a go for a few days.'

Clearly we have a taste for healthy living, the £2.99 Deliciously Ella app went to number one in the food and drinks category, both in the UK and the US, and number five on the whole Itunes store.
But Ella isn't interested in making money, she simply wants to inspire people to adopt her way of life and hopes it can help them like it helped her.

Read more: 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Research: improve life skills of young kids by talking with them

research improve life skills by talking with children
Fifty years of research has revealed the sad truth that the children of lower-income, less-educated parents typically enter school with poorer language skills than their more privileged counterparts. By some measures, 5-year-old children of lower socioeconomic status (SES) score two years behind on standardized language development tests by the time they enter school.

In recent years, Anne Fernald, a psychology professor at Stanford University, has conducted experiments revealing that the language gap between rich and poor children emerges during infancy. Her work has shown that significant differences in both vocabulary and real-time language processing efficiency were already evident at age 18 months in English-learning infants from higher- and lower-SES families. By age 24 months, there was a six-month gap between SES groups in processing skills critical to language development.

Fernald's work has also identified one likely cause for this gap. Using special technology to make all-day recordings of low-SES Spanish-learning children in their home environments, Fernald and her colleagues found striking variability in how much parents talked to their children. Infants who heard more child-directed speech developed greater efficiency in language processing and learned new words more quickly. The results indicate that exposure to child-directed speech -- as opposed to overheard speech -- sharpens infants' language processing skills, with cascading benefits for vocabulary learning.

Fernald and colleagues are now running a parent-education intervention study with low-income Spanish-speaking mothers in East San Jose, California, funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. This new program, called ¡Habla conmigo! (Talk with Me!), teaches Latina mothers how they can support their infants' early brain development and helps them learn new strategies for engaging verbally with their children. Although they only have data from 32 families so far, the preliminary results are promising. Mothers in the ¡Habla conmigo! program are communicating more and using higher quality language with their 18-month-olds compared to mothers in a control group.

"What's most exciting," said Fernald, "is that by 24 months the children of more engaged moms are developing bigger vocabularies and processing spoken language more efficiently. Our goal is to help parents understand that by starting in infancy, they can play a role in changing their children's life trajectories."


Research: Money makes parenting less meaningful, study suggests

Research: Money makes parenting less meaningful, study suggests
Money and parenting don't mix. That's according to new research that suggests that merely thinking about money diminishes the meaning people derive from parenting. The study is one among a growing number that identifies when, why, and how parenthood is associated with happiness or misery.

"The relationship between parenthood and well-being is not one and the same for all parents," says Kostadin Kushlev of the University of British Columbia. While this may seems like an obvious claim, social scientists until now have yet to identify the psychological and demographic factors that influence parental happiness.

New research being presented today at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) conference in Austin offers not only insight into the link between money and parental well-being but also a new model for understanding a variety of factors that affect whether parents are happier or less happy than their childless counterparts.

Money creates conflicting goals

Fascinated by research suggesting that parenting is linked to lower well-being, Kushlev and his adviser Elizabeth Dunn sought to determine which aspects of life might influence how much pleasure and pain people got out of being parents. They specifically looked at the influence of wealth on meaning in parenthood.

In one recently published study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, they found that a having a higher socioeconomic status lowers people's sense of meaning while taking care of their children but not during other daily activities. In a field study in the same paper, they found that showing people images of money while filling out a questionnaire at a festival with their children also reduced their levels of meaning in life.

In a new study, the researchers took the research a step further -- showing some participants money while testing the influence of parents' objectives when they were taking care of their children at a festival. The researchers asked one group of parents to read a paragraph about the festival in terms of productivity and achievement, while another group read about the festival in the context of satisfying the needs of their children with no expectation for direct return. They then surveyed both groups about parenting and sense of meaning. "This design allowed us to see whether money compromises meaning because of the conflict between the goals associated with money and the goals and the behaviors that parenting normally demands," Kushlev says.

They found that activating goals for both money-making and satisfying the needs of their children at the same time did indeed form a conflict: It made parents feel that what they were doing was less meaningful.

Furthermore, they found this effect most pronounced in women. "Money seems to compromise meaning for mothers but not for fathers when they are spending time with their children," Kushlev says. "This finding is consistent with other, unpublished research that suggests that money tends to activate achievement and self-promotion motivations more strongly in women than men." Kushlev and Dunn are working to better understand these gender differences.

In the meantime, Kushlev offers some advice: to keep work and family life as separate as possible, "so that work- or money-related goals are not active when parents are spending time with their children." So try to avoid buying stocks or taking a business call right before or during taking care of your kids. "The less we mix our various goals and motivations, the more meaning in life we may be able to experience from our various daily activities," he says.
Understanding parental happiness

Like Kushlev and Dunn, Katherine Nelson of the University of California, Riverside, was surprised to learn of research suggesting that parents were largely unhappy. "It seemed as though anecdotal evidence suggested the reverse," she says. "Every parent I talked to said that being a parent was one of the best and most meaningful things they had done with their life."

So she and her adviser Sonja Lyubomirsky, along with Kushlev, reviewed more than 100 studies on parenting and well-being to better understand which aspects of parenthood are most associated with joy and which with stress. This new work suggests that parents are unhappy when they encounter greater negative emotions, magnified financial problems, more sleep disturbance, and troubled marriages. On the other hand, parents find joy when they experience positive emotions, satisfaction of their basic human needs, fulfillment of their social roles, and purpose and meaning in life.

They propose a new model of parents' well-being to explain why so much of the previous research on parenthood and well-being is mixed. "Rather than grouping all parents together to suggest that all parents are happy or all parents are miserable," she says, "we have taken a more nuanced approach by asking 'which types of parents are happy?' and 'which types of parents are miserable?'" A parent's age, gender, marital status, and amount of social support, among other factors, are all important.

For example, a young or single parent with young children may be sleep-deprived and thus experience more negative emotions -- and lower well-being -- due to the stresses of raising young children. By contrast, married parents, and parents who are older at the birth of their first child experience relatively high levels of well-being.

In recent work published in Psychological Science, they also found significant well-being differences for mothers and fathers. In general, fathers are happier than men without children, whereas mothers and women without children experience similar levels of happiness.


Friday, February 14, 2014

NOW I'm living the dream: Limo driver swaps city life and sexy girls to live with Filipino wife in a bamboo hut in the tropical rainforest

living the dream
A limo driver from Florida ditched the American Dream to start a new life with a Filipino woman who was once his pen pal.

Neil Hoag, 45, was living in Palm Beach when Margie got in touch because she wanted to improve her English.

A year later, he flew to the remote island of Leyte where she lived to meet her and her family.

He recalled: 'All my friends told me I was crazy to come here, they said I would get my head cut off because it was such an exotic, far away place.'

The couple fell in love and Neil decided to give up his life in Florida to marry Margie and live with her in the rainforest.

He cashed in his savings and bought a piece of land on top of a mountain for £800. They then spent £11,000 building a two bedroom hut with the help of their family and friends from mahogany and bamboo, where they now live with their three sons, Keith, Kyle, and Kenny.

They have electricity but Margie prefers to cook using a charcoal stove. As the nearest village with a shop is miles away, they kill their own chickens and pigs for food and scale the trees for coconuts.

There is no running water so they collect rainwater for washing and drinking.
He said: 'My life here is living the dream. People are afraid to let go of what they are familar with. You have to overcome that fear and know you can break free from the mainstream, you can break free from the herd and be captain of your own destiny.

'If I had to do it all again I wouldn't change a thing. It wad the hardest but the best decision I ever made to break way.'
Neil had an unhappy upbringing in Florida with a family he described as 'dysfunctional'. He left home at the age of 15 and became a cab driver at 17.
He would drive taxis and limos to earn a living and had a son, Kevin, who is now a teenager still living in Florida who he visits every year.

Neil has to guard his rainforest home with a machete from wild animals but said he feels much safer in the remote jungle than he ever did in Florida.

He explains: 'Over 30 of my friends were murdered in their cabs. I was fed up of the fights with drunks in the middle of the night and people from the upper echelons of society thinking they have the right to get in a taxi and insult the driver. My life there was more wild than it was here.'
Neil and his wife admit their relationship initially caused a stir in her community where it's rare to see a white person.

'They talked about me,' Margie said. 'Now I don't care what they say. We are always laughing and smiling so they become friendly. If you ignore what they say, they stop. If you put it in your heart, you'll have a heart attack.'

Read more:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New BBC Horizon documentary investigates the healing power of the mind: Patients who had FAKE surgery for a broken back recovered just as well, documentary reveals

Patients who had FAKE surgery for a broken back recovered just as well, documentary reveals
We’ve all heard of placebos. They’re dummy pills. They can’t do anything real. After all, there’s nothing in them.

At least, that’s what we thought.

But in recent years, evidence has built up to suggest that placebos can be highly effective – particularly in treating pain, depression, and even alleviating some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

And it isn’t just dummy pills that seem to be able to work: you could get life-changing improvements from a pretend potion that’s actually just water; or perhaps fake acupuncture with needles that don’t even puncture your skin.

The key is simply that you think it might help you.

But when it comes to placebos, it doesn’t get much more dramatic than what’s been called sham surgery – as Dr David Kallmes discovered a few years ago.

He’s a successful radiologist at the Mayo Clinic, one of the world’s leading hospitals – it’s where the Presidents of the United States often get treated.

For the past 15 years, he’s been fixing broken backs by injecting them with a special kind of medical cement.

Dr Kallmes regularly performed the procedure – called vertebroplasty – and found it hugely effective.
'We saw terrific results from the procedure, really amazing results,' he told me.

However, there were some questions as to exactly what was going on – because some people seemed to get better even when the operations went horribly wrong.

We’ve all heard of those calamitous procedures where someone has the wrong leg amputated. Well occasionally, people in need of vertebroplasty had the wrong vertebra filled with cement.
And yet it still worked.

As Dr Kallmes rather delicately puts it: 'There was some reason to suspect that there were numerous factors at play in the apparent effectiveness of the cement'.

He decided to do something very unusual – something that most doctors would be incredibly nervous about, but something that a good scientist can’t resist: he decided to conduct an experiment to see whether vertebroplasty was any more effective than a placebo.

He designed a trial in which some patients would be given genuine vertebroplasty, and some would be given a placebo.

But in this case the placebo couldn’t be a dummy pill, it would have to be a fake operation.
It was important that the 130 patients on the trial didn’t know whether they were having the real thing or the placebo.

This meant that Dr Kallmes had to develop an elaborate ruse to ensure that patients wouldn’t work out which group they were in.

All patients were prepared for their ‘operation’ in the same way; they were wheeled into theatre, and given a local anaesthetic in their back.

It was only at that stage that it was decided whether or not they’d have the placebo or the vertebroplasty, and it was a computer that randomly decided their future.

Even the doctors didn’t yet know whether they were about to perform a real procedure, or whether they’d just be pretending.

'In both cases,' says Kallmes, 'No matter how they were randomised [i.e. which operation they were having, the real or the fake], we then opened the cement, which has a very strong odour like nail polish remover, to really simulate it for everybody in the room.'
Half the patients then received the real operation; the other half experienced theatre, but not of the operating kind.

Dr Kallmes explains: 'If they were randomised to placebo, we had a script that we followed, we pressed on the back and said okay ma’am, the cement is going in now, everything’s going fine, things are going well, a few more minutes here, okay we're all done.'
It almost sounds like a child’s game of doctors and nurses.

For Bonnie Anderson, one of the patients on the trial, it would have seemed impossible that play-acting could give her the relief she needed.

After slipping in her kitchen, she’d cracked a vertebra and was in immense pain, barely able to move. 'I couldn’t stand up straight, I’d have to hold onto something. The pain was just very, very severe,' she said.

What’s more, Bonnie had actually had a real vertebroplasty the year before, when a different vertebra had fractured. She knew what to expect from the procedure. It wouldn’t be easy to fool her.
And yet for Bonnie, the effectiveness of the placebo – though she didn’t know that’s what it was – was clear. 'Within a week….I was able to play golf, I took it a little easy, but I was able to play golf almost every day.'

At 76 years old, as she was at the time of the trial, a game of golf every day suggests a fairly effective operation…

In fact, Bonnie noticed no difference in pain relief between the real thing, and the placebo.

Read more: 

The future of wind turbines? Bizarre-looking funnel produces SIX times more energy than traditional designs

wind turbines
Wind turbines may be considered an eco-friendly way to generate electricity, but they're heavily criticised for blotting the landscape and killing hundreds of birds.

Minnesota-based Sheerwind has designed a bizarre-looking alternative to these bladed systems that uses a series of funnels and tubes.

In its Invelox turbine, winds as low as 2mph are directed into a funnel and through a tube to the turbine’s generator on the ground.

By channelling this wind through a passage that narrows at the end it creates a ‘jet effect’, which increases the wind’s velocity, but lowers the pressure.

This technique creates kinetic energy and is called the Venturi Effect. This kinetic energy turns the generator.

Sheerwind claims that due to this unique Venturi-based system, the turbine works with wind speeds as low as 2mph.

It can also produce 600 per cent more electrical energy (kWh) than blade systems by expanding the range of speeds at which it can operate.

Water-based systems already use the Venturi Effect, yet this is the first commercial use of it for converting wind energy.

Sheerwind also states its funnel system is scalable, meaning smaller versions could be placed on both agricultural and hobby farms, industrial estates and even in back gardens.

It could also reduce the threat blade systems have on birds and bats.

Customers can request more details and fill in a form, specifying what kind of wind tower they want, at Sheerwind's website.

'Conventional wind turbines use massive turbine generator systems mounted on top of a tower. Invelox, by contrast, funnels wind energy to ground-based generators,' said Sheerwind.

'Instead of snatching bits of energy from the wind as it passes through the blades of a rotor, wind is captured with a funnel and directed through a tapering passageway that naturally accelerates its flow.
'This stream of kinetic energy then drives a generator that is installed safely and economically at ground level.’

Sheerwind continued that the unit is 50 per cent shorter than traditional wind towers and uses a ground-based turbine with blades that are 84 per cent smaller.

Fewer generators are needed to generate equivalent energy, so equipment and maintenance costs are lower, too.

Sheerwind even claims Invelox is ‘competitive with natural gas and hydroelectric generation’ because it costs less than a penny per KwH.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Could limitless clean power be created by LASERS? Breakthrough experiment first to create excess energy from fusion reaction

 limitless clean power be created by LASERS
California scientists have taken a key step forward in harnessing nuclear fusion, which could one day lead to clean and limitless energy.

Fusion, the process that powers the Sun and other stars, entails forging the nuclei of atoms to release energy, as opposed to splitting them, which is fission - the principle behind the atomic bomb and nuclear power.

However, researchers have have run up against a giant hurdle until now, finding the energy yield from the reaction has been dwarfed by the vast amounts of energy needed to trigger the process.
But, in lab experiments described by scientists in the United States, major progress has been made in overcoming this obstacle.

Reporting in the journal Nature, researchers said they were the first to tease more energy out of a fusion reaction than had been absorbed by the fuel used to spark it.

They fixed 192 laser beams onto a spot narrower than the width of a human hair to generate enough energy to compress a tiny fuel-containing capsule to a 35th of its original size.

Lasting less than a billionth of a second, the reaction put out the equivalent of the energy stored in two AA batteries (some 17,000 joules) in their latest experiment in November 2013.

Though 'modest', according to the team, the output was higher than the estimated 9,000-12,000 joules of energy taken up by the fuel.

'This is closer than anyone has gotten before' to generating viable fusion energy, the study's chief author Omar Hurricane of the US government-run National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California said.
The yield was 10 times greater than previously achieved.
There are qualifiers, though.

It was not a sustained reaction, an eagerly sought moment called ignition.
And it still does not answer the efficiency challenge of releasing more fusion energy than is consumed overall.

In this case, the lasers put out about 1.9 million joules of energy - the equivalent energy in a small car battery - of which only 9,000-12,000 joules were absorbed by the fuel.

'Only something like one percent of the energy that we put in from the laser ends up in the fuel right now, maybe even less,' said co-author Debbie Callahan.
'There is a lot of room for improvement.'

The method needs to be refined and the yield boosted 100 times 'before we get to the point of ignition,' Hurricane added.

Read more: 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Research: The unlikely new medicine... pickled cabbage

Research: The unlikely new medicine... pickled cabbage
New research reveals it may help with allergies, coughs, colds and more

Sauerkraut, blue cheese and pickles hardly sound like the route to wellbeing. But fermented foods - left to age for anything from a few days to weeks before they're eaten - are the new health craze.

It comes from the U.S. of course, where it's become fashionable to ferment vegetables and drink kombucha - a fizzy, fermented tea drunk for centuries in China.

Now the science appears to back it up. Last week Cambridge University researchers reported that regular consumption of fermented low-fat dairy foods, such as yoghurt, fromage frais and cottage cheese, could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 25 per cent over 11 years.

When certain foods are left to ferment, they are 'pre-digested' by good bacteria and yeast found naturally on the surface of the food. These microbes eat the food before you do, breaking down the sugars and starches and making the nutrients easier for the body to absorb.

Some also release lactic acid, a natural preservative, which acidifies the environment in the gut, stimulating the growth of good bacteria. The fermented food effectively becomes a natural probiotic supplement.

Bacteria's role in health has attracted much attention in recent years and experts welcome the new interest in 'living' foods, as fermented food is also known.

'Between 70 and 80 per cent of our immune cells are in the gut,' says Alison Clark, of the British Dietetic Association. 'Fermented foods stimulate bacteria that help with immunity.

'So for someone who suffers with lots of coughs and colds, they could help. We also know that a food that's high in probiotics could help control the symptoms of things such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, bloating, and flatulence.'

Respected U.S. food writer Michael Pollan has embraced fermentation, pointing out that in the body, microbes outnumber human cells ten to one.

'Much of public health has been obsessed with bacteria as the enemy,' he says. 'But 99.9 per cent are benign, and a great number of are also in a symbiotic relationship with us. They help us, and we need them.' The proponents of fermented food - 'fermentos' - claim that antibiotics and antibacterial cleansing products have depleted our levels of gut bacteria to the detriment of health.

They recommend a wide variety of fermented foods, including cured olives, meats and cheeses, to boost immunity, fight allergies and even help you lose weight -because they aid digestion, helping you feel full.

But those that seem to make a real difference are rich in Lactobacillus, which release lactic acid during fermentation.

A study in Critical Reviews in Microbiology in 2011 found that lactic acid bacteria can help, among other things, the immune system, protect against diarrhoea (yoghurt and fermented milk may be particularly protective for young children) and stomach ulcers, and may help reduce allergies.

Read more: 

Software developer with a higher purpose

Software developer with a higher purpose
Flappy Bird is 'gone forever': Game creator pulled app because it is 'an addictive product'

Nguyen Ha Dong, a Vietnamese game developer, announced on Twitter Saturday that he would take down his game Flappy Birds

Imitations of Flappy Bird – the free gaming app that took the world by storm – might be popping up everywhere, but the original game is ‘gone forever,’ according to its creator.

Nguyen Ha Dong, the developer who pulled his highly successful and profitable app over the weekend, revealed he did so because he thinks it was too addictive.

The Vietnamese Hanoi-based developer is believed to have walked away from a small fortune as it is estimated he could have made $50,000 every day in in-app advertising alone.

He told Forbes that he created the app - which saw players tapping on their smartphone screen to navigate a pixelated birds though narrow pipes - to be played in a few minutes, in his first interview since he took his game away.

‘It happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem,’ he said.

‘To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.’

Flappy Bird was the most popular free mobile game on Apple App Store and Google's Android Play store.

The exclusive interview took place in a secret location in Vietnam, perhaps because Dong has received death threats for pulling the app.

The 29-year old has been thrust into the spotlight since the app became incredibly popular - and now obsolete - and has even been summoned by the country’s deputy Prime Minister.

Dong’s parents only learned of his involvement with the hit app last week, despite the fact the game has been growing in popularity since it was released on May 24, 2013.

He coded it in just a couple of days but claims he pulled it for altruistic reasons – rather than a threat from Nintendo about the similarity of the app’s pipes to those in the legendary Super Mario games.

Read more: 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Health officials predicting the end of cigarette smoking in America

Health officials predicting the end of cigarette smoking in America
Health officials have begun to predict the end of cigarette smoking in America.

They have long wished for a cigarette-free America, but shied away from calling for smoking rates to fall to zero or near zero by any particular year. The power of tobacco companies and popularity of their products made such a goal seem like a pipe dream.

But a confluence of changes has recently prompted public health leaders to start throwing around phrases like 'endgame' and 'tobacco-free generation.' Now, they talk about the slowly-declining adult smoking rate dropping to 10 percent in the next decade and to 5 percent or lower by 2050.

Acting U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak last month released a 980-page report on smoking that pushed for stepped-up tobacco-control measures. His news conference was an unusually animated showing of anti-smoking bravado, with Lushniak nearly yelling, repeatedly, 'Enough is enough!'
'I can't accept that we're just allowing these numbers to trickle down,' he said, in a recent interview with the AP. 'We believe we have the public health tools to get us to the zero level.'

This is not the first time a federal health official has spoken so boldly. In 1984, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop called for a "smoke-free society" by the year 2000. However, Koop - a bold talker on many issues - didn't offer specifics on how to achieve such a goal.
'What's different today is that we have policies and programs that have been proven to drive down tobacco use,' said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. 'We couldn't say that in 1984.'

Among the things that have changed:

-Cigarette taxes have increased around the country, making smokes more expensive. Though prices vary from state to state, on average a pack of cigarettes that would have sold for about $1.75 20 years ago would cost more than triple that now.

-Laws banning smoking in restaurants, bars and workplaces have popped up all over the country. Airline flights have long been off-limits for smoking.

-Polls show that cigarette smoking is no longer considered normal behavior, and is now less popular among teens than marijuana.

-Federal officials are increasingly aggressive about anti-smoking advertising. The Food and Drug Administration launched a new youth tobacco prevention campaign last week. At about the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention debuted a third, $60-million round of its successful anti-tobacco ad campaign - this one featuring poignant, deathbed images of a woman featured in earlier ads.

-Tobacco companies, once considered impervious to legal attack, have suffered some huge defeats in court. Perhaps the biggest was the 1998 settlement of a case brought by more than 40 states demanding compensation for the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses. Big Tobacco agreed to pay about $200 billion and curtail marketing of cigarettes to youths.

-Retailing of cigarettes is changing, too. CVS Caremark, the nation's second-largest pharmacy chain, announced last week it will stop selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 drugstores. The company said it made the decision in a bid to focus more on providing health care, but medical and public health leaders predicted pressure will increase on companies like Walgreen Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to follow suit.

Read more: 

Research: Virtual avatars may impact real-world behavior

Research: Virtual avatars may impact real-world behavior
How you represent yourself in the virtual world of video games may affect how you behave toward others in the real world, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"Our results indicate that just five minutes of role-play in virtual environments as either a hero or villain can easily cause people to reward or punish anonymous strangers," says lead researcher Gunwoo Yoon of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

As Yoon and co-author Patrick Vargas note, virtual environments afford people the opportunity to take on identities and experience circumstances that they otherwise can't in real life, providing "a vehicle for observation, imitation, and modeling."

They wondered whether these virtual experiences -- specifically, the experiences of taking on heroic or villainous avatars -- might carry over into everyday behavior.

The researchers recruited 194 undergraduates to participate in two supposedly unrelated studies. The participants were randomly assigned to play as Superman (a heroic avatar), Voldemort (a villainous avatar), or a circle (a neutral avatar). They played a game for 5 minutes in which they, as their avatars, were tasked with fighting enemies. Then, in a presumably unrelated study, they participated in a blind taste test. They were asked to taste and then give either chocolate or chili sauce to a future participant. They were told to pour the chosen food item into a plastic dish and that the future participant would consume all of the food provided.

The results were revealing: Participants who played as Superman poured, on average, nearly twice as much chocolate as chili sauce for the "future participant." And they poured significantly more chocolate than those who played as either of the other avatars.

Participants who played as Voldemort, on the other hand, poured out nearly twice as much of the spicy chili sauce than they did chocolate, and they poured significantly more chili sauce compared to the other participants.

A second experiment with 125 undergraduates confirmed these findings and showed that actually playing as an avatar yielded stronger effects on subsequent behavior than just watching someone else play as the avatar.

Interestingly, the degree to which participants actually identified with their avatar didn't seem to play a role:

"These behaviors occur despite modest, equivalent levels of self-reported identification with heroic and villainous avatars, alike," Yoon and Vargas note. "People are prone to be unaware of the influence of their virtual representations on their behavioral responses."

The researchers hypothesize that that arousal, the degree to which participants are 'keyed into' the game, might be an important factor driving the behavioral effects they observed.

The findings, though preliminary, may have implications for social behavior, the researchers argue:
"In virtual environments, people can freely choose avatars that allow them to opt into or opt out of a certain entity, group, or situation," says Yoon. "Consumers and practitioners should remember that powerful imitative effects can occur when people put on virtual masks."

What is sex of 'real meaning'?

Hillary Clinton thought Bill didn't have sex 'of any real meaning' with 'narcissistic loony toon' Monica Lewinsky, secret papers reveal.

Hillary Clinton claimed that husband Bill didn't have sex of 'any real meaning' with Monica Lewinsky and the former White House intern was a 'narcissistic loony toon', explosive secret documents have revealed.

The former First Lady made the frank remarks to her best friend in 1998 as the American public reeled from Lewinsky's claims of nine sexual encounters with the president in the Oval Office.
Days after the news of the affair broke, Hillary stood stone-faced beside her husband as he vehemently denied any such liaisons took place at a press conference, uttering the now infamous statement: 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman.'

The revelations come in a collection of letters and notes by adviser Diane Blair, a political science professor Hillary Clinton described as her 'closest friend' before Blair’s death in 2000, that have only come to light today.

In them, Blair wrote that Hillary said Lewinsky and Bill never had sex 'within any real meaning' and that he 'tried to manage' the 22-year-old but the situation 'got out of control'.

The notes read: 'HRC insists, no matter what people say, it was gross inappropriate behavior but it was consensual (was not a power relationship) and was not sex within any real meaning (standup, liedown, oral, etc.) of the term.'

Read more: 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

SEO: five simple and proven strategies to improve your web presence

five simple and proven  strategies to improve your web presence
Here are my five simple suggestions to improve your web presence ... based on my 10+ years of helping small businesses be found in search engine results.

1. Web Site Content
Do you have good content but are hurting yourself with the layout of pages?  There is a general swing right now to reduce page content reading and spread it out among many pages.  Is your home page is over texted? Remember, the "above the fold" rule. It says that search engines (SE) look for the main content in the top half of your pages. Typically, the top of your page contains neat graphics but it hurts your search engine optimization (SEO). 

Mistakenly, most people don't use meta tags on their pages. Meta tags are essential since they are a 1) road map and 2) performance measure for SE spiders. When the spiders come to a page to collect data - which they then report and store in the SE databases about your site - they use your meta tags to see if you are staying true to your content purpose (defined by your meta tags).  If you are then you get a good score which helps boost your page rank. Without meta tags you are not giving the spiders much help and that is hurting your SEO.

Your content must use tips or techniques to show what is most important to readers. All content is not the same. You have to use expressions in your text to show the spiders what is important. For example, simply bolding text is an indication of importance. Bolding text and linking it is another way to state importance. Another technique is using your key phrases as an "alternative text" on your images.  The more pages you have the more SE material you have and thus more SEO potential.

I don't suggest to any clients they use "ad sense" ads on their sites. It dilutes your SEO work. The key to SEO is relevancy.  There are many aspects to this but a simple one is when you introduce ad sense content you are showing the SE spider specific content that usually has a very low relevancy rating to the rest of your content. Spiders want the pure and the authentic. If the spider sees the site is about cars then the content had all better be relevant to cars and if not then the score they apply to your site reduces your page rank.

Page Rank is a algorithm google created, then everyone else copied, to measure the performance and popularity of a site. It has a ranking system of NA to 10. Facebook is a 10; lots of links from around the globe, lots of visits from around the world, and lots of relevant content on every page.  Here is the link to charge to check your pagerank:

2. Site Structure
Does your site does have a SE spider friendly structure. Ideally you will have folders with an index file and then sub content. Each folder is a section of your site: photos beach, photos people, photos members, and so forth. The index file acts as a Table Of Contents for the folder. The sub content consists of material that fulfills the purpose of that folder: pages, images, videos, and so forth.

3. Interactivity
Most computing today happens on mobile devices and that audience is growing. Is you site viewable on a phone or iPad? Those folks like to click everything. Make sure you give people thumbnails on you pages where they can click them and the picture gets larger for a close up view. The goal is to have visitors stay longer than two minutes on your site and interactivity helps obtain this. Make some cool videos with your photos, place them in youtube, and then put those videos on your pages. Youtube has a page rrank of 10 so doing that will help boost your page rank.

Add some social media accounts to allow your visitors to share your pages with their friends and family network.

4. Longevity
Provide a subscription button to allow people to subscribe to you. There is a free online database program you can use and a free newsletter service you can use. The basic formulas is first a visitor, then a subscriber, and then a buyer.

You have to blog about your work.  Blogging is a key to any web presence. A blog post can take 10 minutes a day then distribute it to your social media accounts. All this is accomplished for free. Then you are constantly pushing your material into facebook, twitter, and linked in. All three of those are just big SEO portals. This idea cost you 10 minutes a day to blog. Google is the biggest and best around the world ... I suggest using their for your blog. 

I have had much success over the years with these strategies, you can too.    

The ideas I have provided will boost your rankings and site visitors far beyond an average site.

Good Luck !! If you have any questions or want to talk about these ideas give me a call at 541 200 5269.

Blessings, Steu
Steu Mann
steu at ezwebmanifesting dot com

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hit-squad of ‘Do-gooders’ surprise New Yorkers with random acts of street kindness including handing out free money… and there’s no catch

do good network
They quiz subway passengers in New York for cash prizes, with questions including 'what colour is the sky?'

It's members hand out free pizza to strangers and tape dollar bills to street signs beneath the tempting message, 'Grab One'.

Sound too good to be true? The Doers Network say there is no hidden agenda, no mailing list and no religious message - they thrive off the buzz of putting a smile on someone's face.

Led by 23-year-old Jesse Speer, members of the not-for-profit organisation, are bringing their random acts of kindness to the UK, expanding from their New York base.

Since its creation, the network has raised thousands of dollars in donations, and attracting intrigue and new members across America.

But UK domination is just the tip of the iceberg, with the network aiming to open branches all across the world.

Mr Speer, who hails from Williamsburg in Brooklyn, said: 'I don't want it to be a charity, I just want to invoke a sense of kindness.

Read more: 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Research: The key to longevity depends on your SEX

The key to longevity depends on your SEX
As if they needed any more excuse, new research suggests men need their sleep if they’re to live a long life.

Women, on the other hand, can live long lives despite poor sleep habits as long as they eat a diverse diet that includes vitamin B6 and plenty of vegetables.

Vitamin B6 can be found in food such as meat, bananas, nuts, garlic and pistachios. Among other things, it allows the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates.

The findings come from a study led by Melbourne-based Monash University which looked at how diet contributed to sleep quality and mortality among elderly men and women.

Emeritus Professor Mark Wahlqvist from Monash University said sleep played a more important role in men’s mortality than women’s.

'Poor sleep has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease,' he said.

‘We found that for both genders, poor sleep was strongly correlated with poor appetite and poor perceived health.'

But the researchers also found a significant relationship between a diverse diet and sleep, particularly in women.

‘For women, good sleep only provides a survival advantage if they had a diverse diet,’ said Professor Wahlqvist.

The study found women were almost twice as likely as men to sleep badly.

Women who were poor sleepers had a lower intake of vitamin B6 from food than those whose sleep was rated 'fair' or 'good'. Fair sleepers had lower iron intakes than good sleepers.

Both men and women could improve their outlook by eating a more varied diet, the research said.
‘Sufficient dietary diversity in men could offset the adverse effect on mortality of poor sleep while women need to make sure they are eating foods high in vitamin B6,’ said Professor Walhqvist.
Participants in the study who did not sleep well were also less able to chew, had poor appetites, and did less physical activity.

‘These characteristics could contribute to lower overall dietary quality and food and nutrient intake, especially for vegetables, protein-rich foods, and vitamin B6,’ Professor Wahlqvist said.
‘They may also contribute to the risk of death, either in their own right or together with problematic sleep. Intervention focusing on education on healthy dietary practices in elderly people could improve sleep duration and provide more stable levels of health.’

The study was conducted on 1865 elderly men and women who were a part of the Nutrition and Health survey in Taiwan. The data was collected from 1999-2000.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Research: Sticks and stones: Using K12 curriculum to stop bullying

Research: Sticks and stones: Using K12 curriculum to stop bullying
Research finds the key to stop bullying is anti-bullying education in the K12 curriculum, and that teaching students empathy is as important "as teaching them science."

Jennifer E. Beebe PhD, says the key to stop bullying is to include anti-bullying education as part of the regular school curriculum. Beebe conducts research in the areas of bullying and cyber-bullying.

"It's just as important to teach empathy to students as it is to teach them science," says Beebe, assistant professor of counseling and human services at Canisius College. "We can increase consciousness of positive behaviors by incorporating those ideals into the educational system. Many students may not learn them otherwise."

Beebe completed a study which involved disrespect, bullying behaviors and physical aggression with 300 elementary and middle school students in three schools in Illinois. The behaviors were negatively impacting students' academic achievement and school attendance. In many cases, these behaviors crossed over into the cyber world. Beebe's research was sponsored by a grant from The Canisius College School of Education and Human Services.

Students learned several tenets from martial arts during a 12-week long mentoring program which was integrated into students' regular classroom lessons for approximately one hour. "Students were taught such concepts as loyalty, obedience and respect." Beebe adds.

The program was run by individuals from the COREMatters Project. The COREMatters Project is a multi-dimensional classroom experience focusing on social emotional learning, empathy and respect building instruction utilizing cooperative learning activities, role playing, classroom discussions, individual work, as well as physical activities.

Upon completion of the year-long study (2011-2012), which included pre- and post-testing, "We found a significant decrease in teasing and bullying behaviors among the students," says Beebe. "This is very encouraging sign. Because of these positive results, plans are underway to implement this curriculum at other schools."

Teachers, administrators and school counselors, who were also interviewed for the study, reported an improvement in six key areas: respect, pro-social communication, pro-social behaviors, awareness and understanding of bullying, school climate and self-esteem/motivation/confidence.

Beebe cites previous studies when she adds that the impact of bullying can affect the physical, mental and academic well-being of an individual, resulting in high levels of anxiety, low self-esteem, and more frequent thoughts of suicide.

This fella survived 13 months in a broken boat and just wants to get back to work

This fella surveyed 3 months in a broken boat and just wants to get back to work
'I'm desperate and exhausted': Mexican shark fisherman who spent 13 MONTHS adrift in the Pacific gives first account of his ordeal and how he survived by drinking TURTLE BLOOD

Across a crackling radio transmission, the 'Miracle Man of the Pacific Ocean' told for the first time today how his incredible 16 months adrift in a small boat had left him 'desperate and exhausted.'

Speaking briefly to MailOnline through an interpreter as he was carried by boat from a tiny atoll to the main port in the isolated Marshall Islands, Jose Ivan told of his anxiety to be reunited with his family.

'I just want to get back home to Mexico, but I don't even know where I am,' he said, his voice filled with emotion.

During what he said was more than a year drifting helplessly through the treacherous waters of the Pacific after his small boat broke down when he and a fisherman colleague had set out from the Mexican coast, Jose said he was 'tired and sad.'

Ivan's companion had died at sea several months ago, he added.

Despite earlier reports that he had left his port in September 2012 to sail to El Salvador, he said over the crackly radio transmission from ship-to-ship today that he had in fact set out to sea December 25 of that year, more than 13 months ago.

'We set off to go shark fishing,' he told a Mexican interpreter on a yacht moored in Majuro, capital of the Marshall Island.

It is understood his small boat encountered engine trouble and the currents carried them out into the ocean.
Despite their attempts to attract other vessels, they continued to drift further out to sea - and it was then, as the weeks and the months dragged by, that their desperate struggle to survive took up every minute.

Jose was taken by small boat to another part of the atoll group where a young Norweigian anthropology student, Ola Fjeldstad, managed to have a broken conversation with him and learn something of his amazing story of survival.
It was then that the local mayor, Ione deBrum, used the atoll group's only phone to put a call through to the Marshall Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and his existence became known.          
His words over the radio today made it clear, however, that his immediate plan, once his health had returned, was to return home to his family in Mexico.

Read more:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Watch the 1 minute video then answer the question (fun and educational)

What government agency does this remind you of?  Are you an ant?
I am :-)

Facebook - enhancing family culture or degrading childhood opportunities? You decide here are some facts

facebook facts
Ninety-four per cent of American ­teenagers between the ages of 13 and 16 are on Facebook, and in Britain one in five ­children between nine and 12 are thought to have a Facebook page, despite the rule you must be over 13.

Several of my teenage daughter’s friends — who once read books or even, heaven forbid, got on their bikes or played a game of tennis — no longer show their faces at all; their time at home is spent hunched over computers with blank, elsewhere, ­expressions. (A ­quarter of 14 and 15-year-olds now spend four to five hours a day on social media sites.)

That’s why Mark Zuckerberg is the man who stole ­childhood.

And it has made him very, very rich. This week, it was announced that his ­website is worth a ­staggering $150 billion.

Facebook sounds, on the ­surface of it, such an innocent idea. When you set up your account, you register your name, post a photo of yourself, state your current relationship ­status (boxes to tick include ‘open relationship’ and ‘it’s complicated’) and, if relevant, what you are ‘looking for’.
You are invited to create your own profile, to share your ­religious and ­political views, your favourite films, books, quotes, music, and activities. Photographs of ­holidays and nights out can be uploaded, and there is a ‘wall’ on which your messages and ­invitations can be posted.

You can write mini-blogs such as ‘Susan is feeling confused’, ‘Janet is enjoying the city’, and ‘Simon is looking forward to the weekend’ — no comment is ­considered too banal — and join Facebook groups, such as ‘Guilty attractions to ­cartoon characters’.

If you have nothing much to say, you can communicate with your friends the Facebook way by ‘poking’ them — a way of ­saying ‘hello’.

Should you find yourself ­receiving a ‘bitch-slap’, a large hand will appear on your page with the name of the sender. Alternatively, you can let your contacts know that you are thinking of them by ‘throwing a digital sheep’ in their direction or by the more traditional method of ­‘stalking’ (spending a lot of time on their page).

All harmless fun, or so it seems. But Zuckerberg has tapped into a frailty in the human character, and now, in the week Facebook will mark its tenth birthday, it’s ­impossible to escape the ­conclusion that this has been the decade when privacy died.

Historians have recognised that privacy is the privilege of modern society; what distinguishes ­civilised from primitive societies is our increasing respect for ­private space. Yet Facebook grates against that because it’s about being ­permanently visible.

Now even the most private moments — such as births and deaths — are hastily shared on social media. When people lose a loved one, they often create a memorial page ­allowing all and sundry to openly ‘grieve’ together.

Rather than thoughtful letters from friends, the grieving instead receive uncomfortably trivial posts such as ‘RIP!!!’ and mawkish tributes to their loved ones from virtual strangers.

Indeed, in this seductive world, your ‘friends’ are the people you invite to have access to your Facebook page, and the object is to increase their numbers. ­Virtual friendship is about quantity, not quality; many of your Facebook friends might be people you barely know.

Having rounded up a crowd of people to observe your online life, you need to create a life worth observing; it is therefore ­necessary to load your page with photographs in which you can be seen to be having a great time.

Facebook personalities are ‘fun’; people advertise themselves like colourful goods in shop windows.
Zuckerberg recognised our obsession with instant and ­talent-free celebrity; we might be insignificant in our daily lives, but on Facebook we have fans. It is like having our own reality TV show. There is now such a thing as being ‘Facebook famous’.

Read more: 

Doing What You Love - Ain't That What Life's About?

Hiway to heaven
On the highway to heaven: Ohio biker is buried in leathers astride his beloved 1967 Harley-Davidson in a huge transparent casket

The family of an Ohio biker has fulfilled his dying wish by burying him astride his beloved Harley-Davidson in a see-through casket.

Dressed in his leathers and sunglasses, and sitting on top of his 1967 Electra Glide cruiser, Billy Standley, who died on Sunday, was taken for one last ride.

The body of the 82-year-old, who died of lung cancer, was visible through the transparent Plexiglas coffin that his bike has been placed in.

For years the Mechanicsburg man had told family and friends that he didn't just want to ride off to heave, he wanted the world to see him do it in a big see-through box.

Read more: 

Real Financial News (video), & Outside the Box Investment Opportunity - Iraqi Dinar

You can buy dinar at Sterling Currencies and/or