Archive | Biogeochemical Cycles

Computer Pioneer Max Palevsky Dead at 85

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., May 7 (UPI) — Computer pioneer Max Palevsky, a founder of Intel, died in Beverly Hills, Calif., at the age of 85, his assistant said.

Palevsky died Wednesday of heart failure at home, Angela Kaye said.

Palevsky used his fortune from computers to support Democratic presidential candidates and to amass an important collection of American Arts and Crafts furniture, which he donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

In 1961, Palevsky left Packard Bell to form Scientific Data Systems, a builder of small and medium-size business computers purchased in 1969 by Xerox for $1 billion. Palevsky used some of his 10 percent share of the $1 billion to start Intel, which became the world’s largest producer of computer chips.

Palevsky used his money to back Robert F. Kennedy and George McGovern for president and In 1970 rescued a foundering Rolling Stone magazine by buying a significant block of its stock, The New York Times reported Friday.

Despite his interest in computers, Palevsky did not own a computer or even a cellphone, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2008.

Palevsky said he was skeptical of “the hypnotic quality of computer games, the substitution of a Google search for genuine inquiry, the instant messaging that has replaced social discourse.”

Palevsky, who was born in Chicago, earned a bachelor’s degree in math and philosophy from the University of Chicago and did graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, and U.C.L.A.

He is survived by a sister, Helen Futterman of Los Angeles; a daughter, Madeleine Moskowitz of Los Angeles; four sons: Nicholas, of Bangkok, Alexander and Jonathan, both of Los Angeles, and Matthew, of Brooklyn; and four grandchildren.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Art, Other, Philosophy0 Comments

'Stealth' Strategy Gets Better Teen Eating

STANFORD, Calif., May 3 (UPI) — A “stealth” strategy motivates students to change eating habits for environmental and social reasons — not personal health, U.S. researchers said.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found students taking a course on the ethical, environmental and social ramifications of food consumption made healthier eating choices than students taking one of three courses dealing with the health aspects of food such as obesity.

Researchers at California’s Stanford University Medical Center said decisions based on the greater good — for example, cutting back on processed food and eating more locally grown vegetables to help curb global warming — resulted in more healthful eating than personal eating decisions made by students taking health courses.

“This is a novel strategy, and we believe it is an important new direction to pursue,” senior author Dr. Thomas Robinson said in a statement.

“When people get involved in social movements, it changes their behavior more dramatically than what we’ve seen with more cognitive-based approaches.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Food Consumption, Other0 Comments

U.S. Officials Warn of Raw Milk Dangers

WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and several state health agencies are warning of an outbreak of campylobacteriosis associated with drinking raw milk.

The FDA said at least 12 confirmed illnesses have been recently reported in Michigan. Symptoms of campylobacteriosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever.

The FDA said it is collaborating with health officials in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana in investigating the outbreak linked to raw milk produced by the Forest Grove Dairy in Middlebury, Ind.

Raw milk is unpasteurized milk from hoofed mammals, such as cows, sheep or goats. The FDA said raw milk may contain a wide variety of harmful pathogens — including Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, Campylobacter and Brucella bacteria — that may cause illness and possibly death.

Symptoms of illness caused by various bacteria commonly found in raw milk might include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache and body ache. People drinking raw milk who experience one or more of those symptoms should immediately contact their healthcare provider, the FDA said.

Since 1987, the FDA has required all milk packaged for human consumption to be pasteurized before being delivered into interstate commerce. Pasteurization, a process that heats milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time, kills bacteria responsible for diseases that also include typhoid fever, tuberculosis and diphtheria.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Consumption, Food Consumption, Mammals, Other0 Comments

Man Sues Friend over Electronics Use

SANTA FE, N.M., March 29 (UPI) — A Santa Fe, N.M., man has sued his neighbor, saying her use of electronic devices is making him sick.

Arthur Firstenberg, 59, said he is sensitive to specific frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and has difficulty finding a place to live where he isn’t afflicted a host of symptoms triggered by cellphones, routers and other electronic items, The Los Angeles Times reported Monday

“It’s been difficult because of my electromagnetic sensitivities,” he said. “I had a lot of difficulty finding a house that I could be comfortable in.”

Firstenberg thought he had — until a friend rented a house adjacent to his property and the nausea, vertigo, body aches, dizziness, heart arrhythmia and insomnia returned.

All, he says, because Raphaela Monribot was using an iPhone, a laptop computer, a wireless router and dimmer switches in her home, the Times said.

He asked her to limit her use of the devices.

“I asked her to work with me,” he said. “Basically, she refused.”

In his suit, Firstenberg seeks $530,000 in damages and an injunction to force her to turn off the electronics.

“Being the target of this lawsuit has affected me very adversely,” Monribot told the Times via e-mail. “I feel as if my life and liberty are under attack for no valid reason, and it has forced me to have to defend my very basic human rights.”

Dr. Erica Elliott, who treated Firstenberg and testified at a hearing on a preliminary injunction, said she’s convinced electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a real disorder that may affect the nervous system. However, other scientists dispute that claim, the Times said.

Bob Park, a University of Maryland physics professor, said radiation can heat tissue but lacks the energy necessary to alter human DNA or otherwise cause the reported symptoms.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Electronics, Other, Radiation0 Comments

World TB Day: Drug-resistant TB Spreading

BETHESDA, Md., March 24 (UPI) — One-third of the world’s population — 2 billion people — are believed to have the organism that causes tuberculosis, U.S. health officials say.

Christine F. Sizemore, chief of the Tuberculosis and Other Mycobacterial Diseases Section in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said, “As we commemorate World TB Day … despite progress toward improved control of TB, significant challenges remain to reach the goals set forth in the Global Plan to Stop TB — www.stoptb.org/global/plan/ — as this effort reaches its midpoint.”

“TB is especially dangerous and is becoming more prevalent among people who have certain other diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and diabetes. In 2008, about 1.8 million people died of TB, including an estimated 520,000 people co-infected with HIV,” Sizemore and Fauci said in a statement.

“Globally, TB is the leading cause of death among people with HIV/AIDS, and HIV greatly increases the risk of developing active TB.”

Multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB are spreading amid an already overwhelming burden of drug-sensitive TB and HIV/AIDS, particularly in resource-poor nations.

“Interventions that have worked in the past to control TB globally must now be re-assessed and tailored for individual regions,” the health officials say. “The need to adapt and innovate also holds true for biomedical research in TB.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Other0 Comments

1918 and 2009 Viruses Share Vulnerability

BETHESDA, Md., March 24 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they’ve found the viruses that caused flu pandemics in 1918 and 2009 share a structural detail making both susceptible to neutralization.

In one experiment, the researchers, led by Dr. Gary Nabel of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, injected mice with a vaccine made from inactivated 1918 influenza virus. Then they exposed the mice to high levels of the 2009 H1N1 virus. All of the vaccinated mice survived.

But the reverse was also true. Mice vaccinated with inactivated 2009 H1N1 virus and then exposed to the 1918 virus were protected.

“This is a surprising result,” Nabel said. “We wouldn’t have expected that cross-reactive antibodies would be generated against viruses separated by so many years.”

The researchers subsequently determined both viruses lack a cap of glycan (sugar) molecules. Without the sugars, both viruses have unfettered access to receptors they use to enter human cells. That viral advantage quickly diminishes as immunity provided by neutralizing antibodies arises in people who have been infected and recovered or when people are vaccinated.

“The glycans act like an umbrella that shields the virus from the immune system,” Nabel said. “They create a physical barrier over the virus and prevent antibody neutralization.”

Nabel said the shared vulnerability might be exploited to design vaccines matched to future pandemic influenza virus strains.

The research appears in the early online edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Other0 Comments

Pesticides Linked to Developmental Delays

NEW YORK, March 22 (UPI) — Exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos — banned for use in U.S. households — is associated with early childhood developmental delays, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health examined the association between exposure to the pesticide and mental and physical impairments in children in low-income areas of New York neighborhoods in the South Bronx and Northern Manhattan.

Chlorpyrifos was commonly used in these neighborhoods until it was banned for household use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2001, but it is still used as an agricultural pesticide on fruits and vegetables.

After controlling for building dilapidation and community-level factors such as percentage of residents living in poverty, the research indicates that high chlorpyrifos exposure was associated with a 6.5-point decrease in the Psychomotor Development Index score and a 3.3-point decrease in the Mental Development Index score in 3-year-olds.

The findings are published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Children’s Health & Parenting, Farming & Ranching, Food Quality & Safety1 Comment

Micro-algae Explored As Renewable Energy

BUENOS AIRES, March 18 (UPI) — Micro-algae as a source of cheap renewable energy are at the center of new research being conducted at Argentina’s National Technological University.

The use of algae as a source of energy is being researched in different countries across the world and is at an advanced stage in the United States.

But as research has grown so has the realization that converting algae into energy may not be as cost-effective as originally thought possible. As a result, new research and investigation has been two-pronged, both to make optimum use of algae as a source of energy and to do it cheaply.

Scientists at the National Technological University of Mar del Plata, on Argentina’s Atlantic coast, said they focused on developing techniques that would be both economically viable and environmentally sustainable.

A production module already in place would seek to convert micro-algae into energy with the minimum amount of energy being used in the whole process. The scientists said they would seek to achieve a ratio below 1:5 — to limit consumed energy to below 20 percent of the energy produced.

A fundamental factor in the project is the replacement of high-cost raw materials, such as carbon dioxide and cultivation agents, with “environmental liabilities” like industrial waste and emissions and sewage mud, the university said.

The research work is being conducted with the participation of scientists and technicians with an established knowledge base in aquaculture, biotechnology, environmental engineering and phycology, MercoPress reported.

The production of biofuels, particularly biodiesel from marine micro-algae, has won support from environmentalists and politicians because it doesn’t restrict human food consumption, as is the case with soybean and other agricultural crops, and fresh water is not used. Sea water cools the equipment deployed to convert micro-algae into energy.

Analysts said it was too early to determine if energy produced from micro-algae could be cost-effective on a longer term and if the technology could be used for large volumes of energy.

A hectare of micro-algae yields about 8,000 liters of bio-diesel.

Argentina is reviewing its energy efficiency strategies amid a continuing economic downturn and changing demographics, with forecasts that the upwardly mobile younger generation, although environmentally conscientious, will be consuming more energy in the coming years because of changing lifestyles and improved living conditions.

Argentina began exploring the micro-algae project in 2008. Scientists began the work with micro-algae species carrying high oil content. The micro-algae was cultivated in pools of up to 2,000 liters during the four seasons of the year, then collected in vats before being transported for processing.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Biofuels & Biomass, Energy Efficiency, Engineering, Food Consumption0 Comments

Santa Monica Restaurant Sold Banned Whale Meat

LOS ANGELES, March 10 (UPI) — Federal prosecutors Wednesday accused a Santa Monica, Calif., restaurant and one of its chefs of selling Sei whale meat illegally.

The sale of whale meat is banned in the United States under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and Sei whales are on the endangered species list, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a news release.

Prosecutors filed a criminal complaint Wednesday charging Typhoon Restaurant Inc. — the parent company of The Hump restaurant at Santa Monica Airport — and Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, 45, a chef at the restaurant, with the illegal sale of a marine mammal product for an unauthorized purpose.

“Federal law has a variety of provisions, including criminal statutes, intended to protect this planet’s threatened natural resources,” Birotte said. “People should be aware that we will use these criminal statutes where appropriate to protect endangered species, including to ensure that they do not end up part of a meal.”

Prosecutors said The Hump sold whale sushi to customers on three occasions since October — with scientists using DNA testing to determine the meat was Sei whale and receipts given to the restaurant’s customers indicating they had purchased “whale.”

The investigation began after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received information from members of the public about the alleged violations, prosecutors said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animal Rights & Issues, Food Consumption, Food Industry, Food Quality & Safety, Mammals0 Comments

Demographics Key to Cancer Screenings

BOSTON, March 2 (UPI) — Education, race, ethnicity, income and age are related to a patients’ willingness to participate in cancer screenings, U.S. researchers found.

Lead author Nancy Kressin, director of the Healthcare Disparities Research Unit and Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues said prior studies showed screenings are crucial in identifying cancer in its early stages and minorities have lower screening rates for certain types of cancer, such as cervical and colorectal cancer.

The researchers examined patients’ agreeability to engage in cancer screening in the context of varied symptoms and screening settings.

A random sample was conducted using telephone interviews in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Baltimore and New York.

Less-educated individuals with lower incomes received fewer cancer screenings than those with higher levels of each and these rates may lead to disparities in cancer-related mortality. However, racial and ethnic minority status, age and lower income were frequently associated with willingness to receiving a cancer screening.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, found people were most willing to participate in a screening when they were examined by their personal doctor and had symptoms of cancer.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Education0 Comments

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