Archive | History

Oil Platform Fire Cause Unknown But No Oil Spilled; Owner Had History of Safety Violations

A day after an oil platform fire in the Gulf of Mexico, more details regarding the incident and the oil platform owner, Mariner Energy, have come to light. Speaking to reporters today, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asserted that the incident was a run-of-the mill industrial accident and not an example of a failure in regulatory oversight, noting “It’s not another Deepwater Horizon issue, it appears to be another industrial accident.”

Despite Salazar’s statements, more details emerged today about past safety violations by Mariner Energy and its predecessor, Forest Oil. The Washington Post has noted that federal records show Mariner Energy has a history of safety violations including:

  • In June, Mariner Energy paid a $20,000 federal fine for an alleged regulatory violation on an offshore platform.
  • In May, Mariner Gulf of Mexico LLC paid a $35,000 fine for allegedly taking inadequate steps to control hydrogen sulfide pollution.
  • In 2006, Forest Oil had several crew members on another oil platform who were so concerned about safety problems that they took a boat to shore. Their boss stayed behind and was killed when equipment ejected from the well.

Fortunately, the oil platform fire on Thursday did not lead to an oil or natural gas leak, as was initially feared.

In fact, had the oil platform fire not occurred in such close proximity to the BP Deepwater Horizon location in the Gulf of Mexico, it is unlikely much notice would have been paid to the accident at all.

Posted in History, Hydrogen, Natural Gas, Oil & Petroleum0 Comments

School Performance Linked to Gene Variants

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 2 (UPI) — Academic performance in adolescents will suffer if their DNA contains one or more of specific dopamine gene variations, a U.S. study says.

Florida State University researchers says performance in at least one of four key subjects — English, math, science or history — can fall during middle and high school based on the interplay of specific genes, a university release says.

“We believe that dopaminergic genes affect GPA because they have previously been linked to factors associated with academic performance, including adolescent delinquency, working memory, intelligence and cognitive abilities, and ADHD, among others,” biosocial criminologist Kevin M. Beaver said. “So, the genetic effect would operate indirectly via these other correlates to GPA and school performance.”

Beaver and colleagues analyzed DNA and lifestyle data from a representative group of 2,500 U.S. middle- and high-school students tracked from 1994 to 2008 in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

“We found that as the number of certain dopaminergic gene variants increased, grade point averages decreased, and the difference was statistically significant,” Beaver said. “For example, the GPA of a student with specific variants of three dopaminergic genes might be around 2.8, versus a GPA of around 3.3 without the variants.”

“Unfortunately, we know that students with lower GPAs are generally more likely to participate in antisocial or criminal activities, and less likely to attend college and earn comparatively higher salaries as a result,” Beaver 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 History, Other0 Comments

Historic NASA Photos Go on the Web

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) — NASA has posted almost 200 pictures covering 50 years of the agency’s history on the photo-sharing Flickr Web site for public feedback, officials say.

The images in three compilations are available for viewing and download in “The Commons” area of the site and are the first of many batches of pictures the agency plans to share, LiveScience.com reported Tuesday.

The Commons was launched by Flickr and the Library of Congress to increase access to publicly-held photography collections and provide a way for the public to contribute information and knowledge.

“NASA on The Commons is bringing literally out-of-these-world images to Flickr,” Douglas Alexander, general manager of Flickr, said. “We are thrilled to be working with NASA to offer such a rich archive and provide amazing insight into this country’s space program and its early beginnings.”

Visitors to NASA on The Commons can add tags, or keywords, to the images to identify objects and people.

Viewers can also communicate with each other visitors by sharing comments.

The first three sets of photos share a common theme of NASA’s beginnings. The “Launch and Takeoff” set captures iconic spacecraft and aircraft taking flight; “Building NASA” spotlights groundbreaking events and the construction of some of NASA’s one-of-a-kind facilities; and a “Center Namesakes” set features photos of the founders and figureheads of NASA’s 10 field centers.

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 History, Other0 Comments

Breastfeeding May Help Prevent Diabetes

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 30 (UPI) — A U.S. researcher says mothers who don’t breastfeed their children may be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, than mothers who do breastfeed.

Study co-author Dr. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz at the University of Pittsburgh says diet and exercise are widely known to affect the risk of type 2 diabetes but few people realize breastfeeding also reduces mothers’ risk of developing the disease later in life by decreasing maternal belly fat.

The study, scheduled to be published in the September of the American Journal of Medicine, finds mothers who did not breastfeed were almost twice as likely to develop the type 2 diabetes as women who had breastfed or never given birth. In contrast, mothers who breastfed all of their children were no more likely to develop diabetes than women who had never given birth.

“Our study provides another good reason to encourage women to breastfeed their infants, at least for the infant’s first month of life,” Schwarz says in a statement.

Schwarz and colleagues factored for physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, family history of diabetes and body mass index while examining the impact of duration, exclusivity and consistency of breastfeeding and the risk of having developed type 2 diabetes in 2,233 women — 1,828 of whom were mothers.

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 History, Other0 Comments

Signs of Ancient Feasting Uncovered

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (UPI) — Communal feasting on significant occasions goes back in human history at least 12,000 years, say researchers investigating an ancient burial site in Israel.

University of Connecticut Associate Professor of Anthropology Natalie Munro and a team of scientists digging at an ancient burial site near Karmiel, Israel, found unusually high densities of butchered tortoise and wild cattle, suggesting the people who lived in the area at the time gathered there for “special rituals to commemorate the burial of the dead, and that feasts were central elements,” a National Science Foundation release said Monday.

Such communal feasts were instrumental in bringing about the world’s first established communities, the researchers say.

“Feasting … is one of humanity’s most universal and unique social behaviors,” the researchers say in an article published in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers say they believe feasts may have played a significant role in easing the potentially difficult transition from a hunting-gathering lifestyle to one of agricultural dependency.

“Sedentary communities require other means to resolve conflict, smooth tensions and provide a sense of community,” Munro said. “We believe that feasts, especially in funerary contexts, served to integrate communities by providing this sense of community.”

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 History, Other0 Comments

Zoo Rhino Set to Give Historic Birth

CINCINNATI, Aug. 30 (UPI) — A female rhino at the Cincinnati Zoo will make history by giving birth to the first Indian rhino calf conceived by artificial insemination, zoo officials say.

Mother-to-be Nikki has added 60 pounds to her 4,120-pound figure since June and is expected to deliver in October, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

For zoo scientist Monica Stoops the birth will be the culmination of eight years of work as reproductive physiologist at the zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife.

“Everything looks great,” she said.

The zoo is known for its pioneering work in reproductive technology.

“They’re writing new chapters in reproductive books,” Randy Rieches, curator of mammals at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, said.

“There have only been a couple of rhinos reproduced by artificial means,” and those were not Indian rhinos, he said.

“To a lot of people, a rhino is a rhino is a rhino,” Rieches said. “But each (of the five) species is so different behaviorally, reproductively. It’s a learning experience with each one.”

Captive breeding is vital, Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, said, to provide an “insurance policy for the wild population. So if something catastrophic happens, there’s a good reservoir of genes from which the wild can be repopulated.”

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 Conservation, History, Mammals, Other0 Comments

Red Meat Raises Heart Attack Risk

BOSTON, Aug. 19 (UPI) — Eating red meat and processed meats like bacon sharply increased heart disease risk in women, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston suggest eating healthier protein-rich foods — such as fish, poultry, low-fat dairy and nuts — instead of red and processed meats, may reduce heart disease risk.

“There are good protein-rich sources that do not involve red meat,” first author Dr. Adam Bernstein says in a statement. “You don’t need to have hot dogs, hamburgers, bologna or pastrami, which are all fresh or processed meats.”

The study, published in the journal Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, finds women having two servings per day of red meat had a 30 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease than those who had half a serving per day.

The risk of heart disease was lowered 30 percent when a daily serving of red meat was replaced by nuts. Another red-meat replacement — fish — lowered cardiac risk 24 percent and poultry reduced heart risk by 19 percent.

Bernstein and colleagues examined medical history and lifestyle — including diet — for 84,136 women, ages 30-55, enrolled the Nurses’ Health Study from 1980 to 2006. During the 26-year period, the researchers documented 2,210 non-fatal heart attacks and 952 deaths from coronary heart disease.

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 Fish, History, Other0 Comments

Online Tool Helps Identify Diabetes Risk

LEICESTER, England, Aug. 17 (UPI) — British researchers say they have come up with an easy way for people to learn their risk of diabetes online.

Study leader Melanie Davies and colleagues at the University of Leicester have developed an online diabetes risk assessment that applies to a multi-ethnic population so people at high risk of diabetes can identify themselves and go to their primary care doctor for a diagnosis.

The online questionnaire, described in Diabetic Medicine, asks only seven questions — age, ethnicity, sex, family history of diabetes, waist size, Body Mass Index and any history or treatment for high-blood pressure.

“The Diabetes Risk Score is already being used in a number of other studies to identify people at high risk of diabetes and encourage them to see their doctor,” Davies says in a statement.

The Diabetes Risk Score is online at www.diabetes.org.uk/riskscore — the Diabetes UK web site — and has already been taken by more than 21,000 people, Davies 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 History, Other0 Comments

'Father' of SETI Search Honored

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 17 (UPI) — A U.S. scientist said to be the father of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence was honored at a convention of like-minded researchers, observers say.

In 1960 while at Cornell University, astronomer Frank Drake started the first experiment — Project Ozma — to search for evidence of alien life, SPACE.com reported Sunday.

At a banquet at the SETI convention in Santa Clara, Calif., over the weekend, Drake, 80, was honored by attendees.

Though Drake’s initial experiment did not succeed in discovering any cosmic neighbors, it began the search that is still ongoing today.

Drake and others at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. believe the search will succeed one day.

“We are fully aware of the great importance of our enterprise,” Drake said. “That discovery will be one of the most important to occur for any civilization.”

Drake is still active in SETI, participating in optical and radio searches for signs of life.

“Frank is not only a pioneer but he continues to bubble up new ideas for SETI,” Institute senior astronomer Seth Shostak said.

If and when humanity does receive a signal from aliens, Drake said, it will transform society.

“All of history has been just prologue,” he said. “There is a new history about to come to us.”

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 History, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Other0 Comments

Football Injuries Can Be Prevented

CHICAGO, Aug. 14 (UPI) — A U.S. doctor says serious neurological injuries can be prevented in football players if they, their parents and coaches take injury prevention seriously.

Dr. Mitchel Berger — a member of the National Football League Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee and vice president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons — says football is a collision sport with inevitable risks but most serious neurological injuries can be prevented.

“Football players who have sustained a concussion need to be withheld from play until all physical and neuropsychological symptoms and signs related to that concussion have resolved and they are cleared to return to play through an independent healthcare professional,” Berger says in a statement.

Berger and colleagues point out data show football helmets are not the cause of cervical spine injuries. They say poorly executed tackling and blocking techniques are the major problems.

Injuries can be prevented if all players receive:

– Pre-season physical exams, and those with a history of prior brain or spinal injuries, including concussions, need to be identified.

– Adequate preconditioning and strengthening of the head and neck muscles.

– Instruction not to use the top of the football helmet as a battering ram when blocking, hitting, tackling and ball carrying. Coaches should stress helmet-to-helmet collisions are to be avoided.

– Properly fitted players’ equipment, especially the helmet. Straps should always be locked.

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 History, Other0 Comments

No Posts in Category
Advertisement