Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Health Canada recalling novelty sets containing small, powerful magnets

Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 22, 2013 2:01PM EDT

TORONTO -- Health Canada has issued a recall for a number of adult novelty products containing small, powerful magnets that can be swallowed or inhaled by children.

BuckyBalls novelty sets contain a number of rare earth element magnets many times more powerful than traditional magnets.

Some children have needed emergency surgery to remove swallowed magnets that can attract one another while moving through the intestines.

The magnets can trap intestinal tissue between them and cause life-threatening blockages or tearing.

Distributors of BuckyBalls are voluntarily recalling the products after a Health Canada risk assessment found they pose a danger to human health and safety.

The federal department says consumers should stop using the magnet sets and contact their municipality for instructions on safe disposal or recycling.

"Canadians expect that products they find on store shelves will be safe," Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a statement Wednesday. "It's clear that some products containing small, powerful magnets pose a danger to children so we are taking action to have them removed from the marketplace."

The adult entertainment products typically involve puzzle working, sculpture building, mental stimulation or stress relief.

Online advisory:


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JPMorgan's Dimon survives shareholder referendum

The front of one of the JPMorgan Chase & Co. buildings is shown during the annual meeting Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. It's a pivotal day for Jamie Dimon, head of the country's biggest bank, his shareholders will vote whether to strip him of his role as bank chairman. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The front of one of the JPMorgan Chase & Co. buildings is shown during the annual meeting Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. It's a pivotal day for Jamie Dimon, head of the country's biggest bank, his shareholders will vote whether to strip him of his role as bank chairman. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Law enforcement stand guard as stockholders arrive for the JPMorgan annual meeting Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said Tuesday that last year's $6 billion trading loss had been expensive and "extremely embarrassing" but he also asked shareholders not to fixate on the issue. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 13, 2012, file photo, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, head of the largest bank in the United States, testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dimon, chairman and CEO of the biggest U.S. bank, faces a key test this week: His shareholders are voting on whether to let him keep both jobs. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(AP) ? Shareholders at JPMorgan Chase voted to let Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO, keep both his jobs.

At the bank's annual meeting, just 32 percent of shareholders voted for a non-binding measure that would have advised the bank to split the roles. That's less than the 40 percent vote that a similar proposal received last year.

Shareholder groups lobbying for the split gained momentum from a surprise $6 billion trading loss last year, which tarnished the reputation of both JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Dimon. The bank and Dimon had argued that letting Dimon keep both jobs was the most effective form of leadership.

Dimon emerged from the financial crisis heading one of the strongest banks in the country. But his reputation has been hurt over the past year over fallout from the so-called "London whale" trading loss, nicknamed for its size and the location of the trader who made the outsized bets on complex debt securities that went wrong.

In the previous six annual meetings where Dimon has been both chairman and CEO, shareholders have been asked about separating the roles four times. Last year marked the highest level of votes in favor of the idea. In 2007 and 2008, only about 15 percent of shareholders voted for similar measures.

Investors welcomed the news that the measure had been defeated. JPMorgan's stock was up 2 percent, or $1.09, at $53.38 in midday trading. The stock is at its highest level in 12 years.

The shareholder meeting, held at company offices on the outskirts of Tampa, Fla., had fewer theatrics than last year's meeting, which was held just days after the trading loss was disclosed. Last year, two or three dozen protesters showed up. On Tuesday, one woman with a cardboard sign was spotted, but only briefly.

The bank is facing regulatory investigations and lawsuits, not only over the trading loss but other practices including foreclosures and alleged rigging of power prices. Michael Garland from the New York City Comptroller's Office, which supports splitting the roles, said he appreciated that JPMorgan led its peers by certain financial measures. But, he added, "it also leads its peers in regulatory investigations."

Lisa Lindsley from the union group AFSCME, which filed the proposal asking to split the jobs, said the bank needed "a new tone at the top." She said the proposal was never intended as a referendum against Dimon or a "personality contest," but as a measure for the best risk management.


AP reporters Tamara Lush and Chris O'Meara contributed.

Associated Press


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Moon hit by boulder-size meteoroid, causing 'explosion' visible from earth (+video)

If you had been looking up at the moon at the right moment on March 17, you could have seen a one-second burst of heat caused by the impact of a large meteoroid.

By Mark Trumbull,?Staff writer / May 18, 2013

Hundreds of meteoroid impacts on the moon, detected by NASA's lunar monitoring program, are pictured in this undated NASA handout photo. The brightest, detected on March 17, 2013, in Mare Imbrium, is marked by the red square.



If you had been looking up at the moon at the right moment on March 17, you could have seen an unusual flash of light ? a one-second burst of heat caused by the impact of a large meteoroid.

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'; } else if (google_ads.length > 1) { ad_unit += ''; } } document.getElementById("ad_unit").innerHTML += ad_unit; google_adnum += google_ads.length; return; } var google_adnum = 0; google_ad_client = "pub-6743622525202572"; google_ad_output = 'js'; google_max_num_ads = '1'; google_feedback = "on"; google_ad_type = "text"; // google_adtest = "on"; google_image_size = '230x105'; google_skip = '0'; // --> NASA researchers who monitor the Moon for meteoroid impacts have detected the brightest explosion in the history of their program.

No telescope required.

?For about one second, the impact site was glowing like a 4th magnitude star,? NASA said in reporting the news Friday.

This meteoroid was the size of a small boulder, and was travelling very fast. NASA estimates the size at 0.3 to 0.4 meters wide, and the speed at 56,000 m.p.h.?

The resulting explosion? delivered a force equal to 5 tons of TNT.

NASA puts a footnote on the word ?explosion.? The bright light wasn?t combustion, since the moon has no oxygen atmosphere. Rather, it was the glow of molten rock and hot vapors after an impact of large kinetic force.

That said, this was the biggest such ?explosion? in eight years of close monitoring of the moon?s surface.

And it?s not that meteoroids on the lunar surface are rare.

The moon lacks a protective atmosphere like Earth?s, in which meteoroids typically burn up. Lunar meteor showers have turned out to be more common than expected, with hundreds of detectable impacts per year.

On March 17, the pyrotechnics on the moon coincided with an active night for meteors in Earth?s atmosphere as well.

NASA?s Space Exploration Policy eventually calls for extended astronaut stays on the moon, so tracking meteor activity has long-term relevance.

?Identifying the sources of lunar meteors and measuring their impact rates gives future lunar explorers an idea of what to expect,? the space agency said in announcing the bright explosion Friday. ?Is it safe to go on a moonwalk, or not?? The middle of March might be a good time to stay inside.??


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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Twitter's Innovator's Patent Agreement launched, applied to first patent

The patent wars have grown long and tiresome for many, but Twitter's among the first to take meaningful action to stop them with its Innovator's Patent Agreement. Today, the company launched version 1.0 of the IPA and is using it for the first time. Patent number 8,448,084, which claims a method for refreshing a scrollable list of content (aka pull-to-refresh) is the first to get the IPA treatment, which means that Twitter has pledged to use this patent for defensive purposes only.

What's that mean? Well, under this version of the IPA, Twitter can assert claims against anyone who has filed, threatened or participated in a patent infringement suit against Twitter or any of its users, affiliates, customers, suppliers or distributors. It can also assert the patent to "deter a patent litigation threat" against Twitter and its peoples. If you're thinking that such a broad definition of "defensive purposes" means Twitter can pretty much use its IPA'd patents how it chooses, you're pretty much right. Still, we applaud Twitter's effort to pre-empt future patent litigation, but we'll have to wait and see if it accomplishes its goal of having companies spending their money on innovation instead of litigation.

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Source: Official Twitter blog

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How Howard Wolfson went from Team Clinton to Team Bloomberg (Washington Post)

Share With Friends: Share on FacebookTweet ThisPost to Google-BuzzSend on GmailPost to Linked-InSubscribe to This Feed | Rss To Twitter | Politics - Top Stories Stories, News Feeds and News via Feedzilla.


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Monday, May 20, 2013

Ferris wheel ride world record broken in Chicago

FILE - In this June 13, 2012 photo, visitors ride on the Ferris Wheel and Wave Swinger at Chicago's nearly century-old Navy Pier. Clinton Shepherd, park operations manager at the Navy Pier, rode the tourist spot?s Ferris wheel for more than 2 days over the weekend of May 18-19, 2013, bringing the world record for the longest ride to the birthplace of the amusement park favorite. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

FILE - In this June 13, 2012 photo, visitors ride on the Ferris Wheel and Wave Swinger at Chicago's nearly century-old Navy Pier. Clinton Shepherd, park operations manager at the Navy Pier, rode the tourist spot?s Ferris wheel for more than 2 days over the weekend of May 18-19, 2013, bringing the world record for the longest ride to the birthplace of the amusement park favorite. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

CHICAGO (AP) ? A manager of Chicago's Navy Pier rode the tourist spot's Ferris wheel for more than two days ? 384 times, up and around ? bringing the world record for the longest ride to the birthplace of the amusement park favorite.

"I thought Chicago should have that title," Clinton Shepherd said after finishing his record-breaking ride on Sunday. Shepherd, the park operations manager, spent 48 hours, 8 minutes and 25 seconds riding Navy Pier's Ferris wheel over the weekend.

The first Ferris wheel was built in 1893 in Chicago for the World's Columbian Exposition.

Guinness World Records allowed him to have one five-minute break each hour. He played hours of videogames to stay awake during the ride, and watched James Bond and Batman movies. His gondola on the wheel was specially outfitted with a big-screen TV, cushions and curtains.

Supporters followed him on Twitter. A video camera recorded the feat while volunteer timekeepers documented Shepherd's activities.

Fans could join Shepherd for a spin by making a donation to the USO. Shepherd's girlfriend rode with him Saturday for a candlelight anniversary dinner with food from a Chicago restaurant owned by Michael Jordan.

The 32-year-old Shepherd called his adventure "a very overwhelming experience" that was made easier by the support of friends, family and the city of Chicago.

"I was thrilled and honored to be able to have all the love and support I did," Shepherd said.

The previous record was 30 hours and 35 seconds. Shepherd said he didn't want to simply beat the record, "I wanted to shatter it."

"It was little rough at about three in the morning, but the more I kept busy, the better," Shepherd said.

He said his legs felt wobbly after the ride.

Associated Press


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Bill Hader steals the show in starry 'SNL' sendoff


20 hours ago

Ben Affleck joined the five-timers club as host, but departing castmember Bill Hader stole the show on "Saturday Night Live?s" season 38 finale.

Hader gave a cinematic sendoff to Stefon, that perennially irritating scenester kid. During Weekend Update, he faced his usual dressing down from Seth Meyers. Stefon had finally had enough, and announced he?d met someone else and was leaving Meyers. Meyers -- who was joined at the Update desk by former co-anchor Amy Poehler -- ran after Stefon and found him in a church. What came next was a fantastic (and surprisingly emotional) Graduate-themed segment featuring surprise guest Anderson Cooper as Stefon?s fiancee.

VIDEO: "Saturday Night Live": Watch Bill Hader's finest sketches

In the show?s final sketch, Hader, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis and Taran Killam played a British rock band saying goodbyes on the last night of a tour.

?It?s the last night here,? Armisen said.

?But we?re going to keep playing together,? Hader said.

The band began playing a song, and were eventually joined on stage by Armisen?s Portlandia costar Carrie Brownstein, Sonic Youth?s Kim Gordon, the Sex Pistols? Steve Jones, singer-songwriter Aimee Mann, and Dinosaur Jr.?s J Mascis.

Earlier in the week, a report emerged that Armisen and Sudeikis would be leaving the show, and while NBC has not commented on the report, it's worth nothing that Armisen played the leader of the band. The focus was actually more on Armisen than Hader. Based solely on the sketch, signs point to an Armisen exit in addition to Hader's.

But lest we forget the host, it's time to circle back to Affleck. During his opening monologue, the actor-director addressed his odd "Argo" Oscars speech, in which he thanked wife Jennifer Garner but went on to talk about how marriage takes a lot of work. On "SNL," Affleck brought Garner out to discuss what he really meant. What followed was a marital game of ping-pong, with Garner saying she would have described their marriage as ?a gift,? not work, and Affleck fumbling for a better explanation.

PHOTOS: From live TV to the big screen: 12 "SNL" sketches made into movies

Affleck finally found his footing:

"I want to tell you how I wish I had ended that speech: I couldn?t do any of the things I do without you, without your support. You?re my angel, my wife, my world.?

The moment was shattered when Garner pointed out that he was reading the speech off of a cue card.

"SNL" moved on to imagine what would happen if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Armisen) were to make a movie about Affleck directing "Argo." The result was spectacular. "Bengo F--- Yourself" saw Ahmadinejad wearing a Red Sox cap, doing a Boston accent and pitching his idea for a totally false CIA story. Affleck himself had a role in the movie as a sound technician.

?Why would I appear in this movie? Well, to be honest I?ve long been looking to appear in a movie worse than 'Gigli,'? Affleck said.

VIDEO: "SNL" recap: Zach Galifianakis plays "Game of Game of Thrones"

Affleck sported a mustache and a paunch to play a member of a family of emotionally repressed police officers attempting to toast the engagement of a young female relative. In a less-than-successful sketch, he portrayed a counselor at a camp designed to turn gay kids straight.

"SNL" was on a gay sketch kick, apparently, with a prerecorded segment advertising anti-anxiety medication for people feeling worried about attending perfect gay weddings over the summer. One man (Hader) feared that he was an inadequate dancer at gay weddings, where he said guests knew choreographed Beyonce dances. Another (Moynihan) never had clothes that were good enough, and a third noted that President Barack Obama had called to congratulate his gay friends at their wedding, while at his wedding, his grandmother had called Obama the N-word. Not quite as classy of an event.


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Hofstra student killed by police during break-in

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) ? In what police are describing as a crime of opportunity, a wanted man with a criminal history dating nearly 15 years entered a front door that had been left open at a New York home near Hofstra University.

A short time later, the intruder, Dalton Smith, and a 21-year-old college junior, Andrea Rebello, were both dead. The two were killed early Friday by a Nassau County police officer who fired eight shots at the masked man, hitting him seven times but also accidentally hitting Rebello once in the head, Nassau County homicide squad Lt. John Azzata said Saturday.

Smith was holding Rebello in a headlock and pointing a gun at her head before he turned his gun at the officer, Azzata said, prompting the shooting.

"He kept saying, 'I'm going to kill her,' and then he pointed the gun at the police officer," Azzata said.

A loaded 9 mm handgun with a serial number scratched off was found at the scene, police said.

Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said he had traveled to Rebello's Tarrytown, N.Y., home to explain to Rebello's parents what happened.

"I felt obligated as a police commissioner and as a parent to inform them as soon as all the forensic results were completed," Dale said.

The veteran police officer, who was not identified, has about 12 years of experience on the Nassau County police force and previously spent several years as a New York City police officer, Dale said.

The officer is currently out on sick leave. He will be the focus of an internal police investigation once the criminal investigation is completed, which is standard police procedure in any officer-involved shooting, the commissioner said.

The shooting came just days before the school's commencement ceremonies, which are scheduled for Sunday.

A university spokeswoman said students will be handed white ribbons to wear in memory of Rebello. The shooting, which took place just steps from campus, has cast a pall over the university community as it geared up for commencement.

Earlier Saturday, police announced that Smith, 30, had been wanted on a parole violation related to a first-degree robbery conviction. A warrant was issued for Smith on April 25 for absconding from parole, police said.

Smith had what police described as "an extensive criminal history," which included arrests for robbery in the first degree in 1999, promoting prison contraband in the second degree in 2000, robbery in the first degree in 2003, assault in the second degree in 2003 and robbery in the second degree in 2003.

Rebello was in the two-story home in Uniondale, N.Y., with her twin sister Jessica, a third woman and a man when Smith, wearing a ski mask, walked into the house through an open front door, Azzata said.

The door was left open after someone had moved a car that was blocking a driveway, Azzata said.

When Smith entered, he demanded valuables and was told they were upstairs, Azzata said.

Smith, apparently unsatisfied with the valuables upstairs, asked if any of the four had a bank account and could withdraw money, Azzata said. The intruder then allowed the unidentified woman to leave and collect money from an ATM, telling her she had only eight minutes to come back with cash before he killed one of her friends, Azzata said.

The woman left for the bank and called 911, according to Azzata.

Minutes later, two police officers arrived at the home and found Rebello's twin sister Jessica running out of the front door and the male guest hiding behind a couch on the first floor, Azzata said.

One of the officers entered the home and encountered Smith holding onto Rebello in a headlock, coming down the stairs, Azzata said. Smith pulled Rebello closer and started moving backward toward a rear door of the house, pointing the gun at her head before eventually threatening the officer, Azzata said.

The Rev. Osvaldo Franklin, who gave Rebello and her twin their first communions, on Saturday night told The Associated Press their mother, Nella, couldn't even speak to him earlier in the day.

"She was so devastated," said Franklin. "She's just crying. We have to pray for Andrea, to pray for Jessica because she needs help."

Franklin said a funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at Teresa of Avila Church in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., and will be in Portuguese.

"The family's a very good family, they have very good values," he said. "They are a very good, very devoted family."


Associated Press writer Jake Pearson in New York contributed to this report.


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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost In Art: Paintings, Stained Glass Windows, Frescoes And More (PHOTOS)

Click through the slideshow to see artistic depictions of the Pentecost

  • Fidel Schabet (1813-1874)

  • Crispin van den Broeck (1524-1591) Current location: National Museum of Warsaw

  • Bernardo Castello (1557?1629) Current location: Church of S. Ambrogio; Alassio, Italy

  • Anthony van Dyck (1599?1641) Current location: Sanssouci Picture Gallery, Potsdam, Germany

  • Salomon de Bray (1597?1664)

  • Duccio di Buoninsegna (1260-1318) Current location: Museo dell'Opera del Duomo

  • Giotto di Bondone (1266?1337) Current location: National Gallery, London

  • Jean II Restout (1692-1768)

  • Juan Bautista Maino

  • Toru?, church of St. James, Descent of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) painting, early 16th century

  • Mosaics on the Rosary Basilica (lower level) : the Pentecost

  • The Pentecost, Waldburg-Wolfegg Collection at Wolfegg Castle

  • Igreja S?o Sebasti?o, Porto Alegre

  • Casa de Oraci?n y Centro de Espiritualidad Carmel Maranath?, Valle de Bravo, Estado de M?xico, M?xico

  • Matriz Church, Chaves, Portugal.

  • Church of the Assumption, Our Lady's Island, County Wexford, Ireland

  • Vitrail de l'Ascencion de la Chapelle Sainte-Barbe du Faou?t

  • Kath. Pfarrkirche St. Johannes Baptista, Wuchzenhofen, Stadt Leutkirch im Allg?u

  • An icon of the Christian Pentecost, in the Greek Orthodox tradition. This is the Icon of the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. At the bottom is an allegorical figure, called Kosmos, which symbolizes the world.

Pentecost, the Greek word for 'Shavout' is an ancient feast in Israel that celebrates the harvest and giving of the Torah on Sinai. In the Christian liturgical calendar, Pentecost, observed 50 days after Easter Sunday, marks the end of the Easter season and celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other disciples of Jesus. This is narrated in the Acts of the Apostles:

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4)

Below, a two-minute introduction to Pentecost courtesy of Busted Halo:

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Jets' Goodson facing drug, weapons charges

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) ? New York Jets running back Mike Goodson is facing drug and weapons charges after he was found in a car with an acquaintance early Friday morning on Interstate 80 in New Jersey.

According to state police, Goodson was a passenger in a vehicle driven by 31-year-old Garant Evans of Roselle. After receiving a 911 call from a tow-truck driver at about 3:15 a.m., police found them stopped in the left-center lane of Interstate 80 west in Denville, about 25 miles west of New York City.

State Police Sgt. Adam Grossman said both men were charged with marijuana possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and weapons offenses stemming from a 45-caliber semi-automatic handgun, that included a hollow-point bullet, found in the vehicle. Grossman wouldn't say whether either man was the registered owner of the gun.

Evans also was charged with DWI, several traffic violations and possession of a weapon with a prior felony.

Goodson was evaluated at a hospital in Denville and released into police custody, Grossman said.

Both men were being held Friday pending transfer to the Morris County jail, Evans on $150,000 bail and Goodson on $50,000 bail. It wasn't immediately known when they were scheduled to appear in court.

"This is a pending legal matter," a Jets spokesman said. "There will be no further comment until the legal process has run its course."

The 25-year-old Goodson, from Spring, Texas, played three seasons for Carolina and one for Oakland before the Jets signed him to a three-year, $6.9 million deal, which includes a $1 million signing bonus, in March.

Goodson was drafted by the Panthers in the fourth round out of Texas A&M and has played in 40 games in the NFL, rushing for 722 yards and three touchdowns on 160 carries. He also has 59 receptions for 524 yards and a score.

He spent last season with Oakland as a backup to Darren McFadden, and ran for 221 yards and caught 16 passes for 195 yards last season. Goodson was expected to compete for playing time with Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, and was brought in to be an asset in new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast system because of his speed and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

Two weeks ago, the Jets cut defensive end Claude Davis and cornerback Cliff Harris a day after they were arrested and charged with marijuana possession in Morristown, several miles from where Goodson was arrested.

The Jets train in nearby Florham Park.


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Drinks-On With the World's Biggest, Baddest Bartending Robot

At the Google I/O after party the other night, there was one bartender in particular that stood out. It wasn't the drink he made, or the friendly chatter. It was more than he weighed several tons and could break you with the flick of the wrist. Meet the Makr Shakr.




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Saturday, May 18, 2013

California fuels $550 million Powerball jackpot

SAN DIEGO (AP) ? The numbers sum up the frenzy that has taken over the Golden State since it joined the madness over Powerball, which has seen its jackpot soar to $550 million for Saturday's drawing.

California has sold $83 million worth of Powerball tickets since April, when it joined 42 other states that offer the game. Since then, the most populous state has accounted for 11 percent of the game's sales, fueling such fast-growing mega-jackpots like the latest one that has the potential to be a record-breaker.

The state expects to generate well above the originally estimated $50 million for public education, California lottery director Robert O'Neill told The Associated Press.

"One thing California has brought Powerball is sunshine and good fortune," he said. "It has surprised us. We're very happy."

Californians have Nevadans to thank for some of that good fortune.

California's biggest ticket-seller is the Primm Valley Lotto Store, which straddles the state line in tiny Nipton, a 19th century mining and ranching town on the edge of the Mojave desert whose booming lottery sales have put it on the map in modern times.

Roxie Handley figured all 80 of its residents would have a ticket in hand by Saturday. That's if they can find the time.

"Here in Nipton, it's crazy," said Handley, 59, who manages the Nipton Trading Post, which also sells Powerball tickets. "We're stocking up on everything. Last night, I heard some people had to wait nine hours in line."

The town is about 35 miles from Las Vegas on the main interstate from the Los Angeles area. Residents of the nation's No. 1 gambling state do not have access to the lottery. The Nevada state constitution contains a prohibition on lotteries, which are seen as competition to the casino industry.

Norma Wagoner was among the Nevadans trying their luck. She and a group of friends pooled their money to buy 20 tickets and sent one over the state border to endure the long lines.

"Everybody has dreams," she said. "All it takes is one ticket."

Officials expect the jackpot to keep growing before Saturday's drawing that could break Powerball's November 2012 record of $587.5 million.

The latest kitty leapt nearly $200 million since Wednesday's drawing, which was an estimated $360 million. The $550 million jackpot is the second largest in Powerball history and third biggest overall.

Lottery officials expect jackpots to continue growing faster and bigger, thanks in part to a game redesign in January 2012 that increased the odds of winning some kind of prize of a lesser amount. On Wednesday, $1 million prizes were won in 16 states, and $2 million prizes were won in two states. California had six tickets among the winning ones Wednesday, including one sold in Nipton.

More than half of the all-time jackpot records have been reached in the last three years. The top two all-time jackpots ? $656 million from a Mega Millions jackpot and $587.5 million from a Powerball jackpot ? were achieved in 2012. Some states, like California, now sell tickets for both games.

The last major jackpot win came when a New Jersey man won a $338.3 million jackpot March 23. It is now considered the fourth largest Powerball jackpot in history.

For Nipton, folks feel they've already won thanks to the boom in business.

"It kind of disrupts our peace and quiet," said Handley, although she admits she too plans to snap up a ticket.

Most of the talk she hears around town these days, she says, is of people daydreaming about quitting their jobs and traveling with their millions: "Everybody wants a piece of the pie."

But she said she would likely give most of it away.

"Having a lot of money I think would be a lot of headache," she said. "Nipton has a lot of history. It's the place to come if you want to get away. We have a five-room bed and breakfast with no phones, no TVs, where you can sit and watch the trains go by. It's our little piece of heaven. I have things money can't buy."


Rodriguez reported from Des Moines, Iowa, and can be found at . Associated Press writer Hannah Dreier in Las Vegas contributed to this report.


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Researchers Report Cloning Advance For Producing Stem Cells

Copyright ? 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. This week, scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University, OHSU, announced a breakthrough in cloning of a human embryo. They took adult cells, put the cells into specially prepared human eggs and created genetically identical embryos. It's something lots of stem cell researchers have been trying to do for years without success.

How did they get it to work, and what happens next? Will the technique be used to treat disease? We have other ways of creating stem cells, ways that don't involve creating embryos. What makes this different, and what are the ethical questions we need to consider? That's what we'll be talking about, our number 1-800-989-8255. Let me introduce my guests.

George Daley is a professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Boston Children's Hospital. Josephine Johnston is a research scholar at the Hastings Center, that's a bioethics think tank based in Garrison, New York. Welcome to the program Dr. Johnston, Dr. Daley.

GEORGE Q. DALEY: Good to be here.

Thank you very much.

FLATOW: Dr. Daley, let me ask you: Is this a real breakthrough in the true sense?

DALEY: Oh, it definitely is. I mean, technically this has been a challenge that dozens of labs have really been working hard at across the world for, say, 10 or 15 years, and this is really the first time that it's worked in humans.

FLATOW: Give us a little bit of an inside baseball, a few details of what they did.

DALEY: They fundamentally used the same technique that was used by Campbell and Wilmette to make Dolly the Sheep in 1997. But instead of going all the way to making a baby, which is not anything anyone wants to propose, they copied cells. What that really involved was taking an egg from a woman who was paid to donate that egg, removing the DNA from the egg and replacing it with the DNA from a donor cell.

They did it both from a kind of generic fibroblast but also from the donor cells of a patient with a particular disease. What that does then is it actually starts the process of early human development, there's a small embryo created from which one can harvest stem cells. So they made patient-derived stem cells that would have been identical to that individual with the disease.

FLATOW: Did it go as far as the cell to actually develop stem cells in it?

DALEY: Yes, so they - their breakthrough was being able to reproduce the sort of early stage blastocyst, you know, this earliest stage of human development, when we're really a small cluster of cells, a couple hundred cells at most, but those are the substrates for deriving these master cells, these embryonic stem cells that can be any tissue in the human body.

FLATOW: And theoretically, then, there was no father to this embryo, it was just a mother's egg?

DALEY: Well yes, I mean, the mother's egg is involved, but fundamentally we're talking about the DNA, in the case of the patient, the DNA is a combination of that patient's mother and father. I mean, it's the identical nucleus and DNA from the patient.

FLATOW: Now I heard in the technique there was involved using caffeine. What was that about?


DALEY: Yeah, the Starbucks experiment, in a sense. Well, one of the challenges that many groups have faced, than when you manipulate the egg, when you stick an eye needle into it to pull out its chromosomes, that tends to shock the egg and activate it, and it tends to start to develop. Caffeine, we know, actually inhibits some of the enzymes that are involved in activating the egg.

And so by adding caffeine to the culture, the mix, the sort of broth in which these cells are grown, they could stick the needle in without starting this process. So it was an important contribution to getting this all to work.

FLATOW: Dr. Johnston, as a bioethicist, what are some of the possible landmines here?

JOSEPHINE JOHNSTON: Well, we're back to a situation where we're talking about the creation of an embryo, which will then be destroyed for research purposes, which of course is still controversial in the United States and in other countries. And because of the nature of this particular experiment, it reopens the debate about reproductive cloning and whether this technology takes us a step further towards, or closer towards being able to do reproductive cloning.

One of the other issues that is, you know, still debated to some extent is the involvement of egg donors in research and the compensation that is provided to them. So there are at least - those are at least a few of the unresolved debates that this particular study sort of reignites.

FLATOW: Does it matter that these are not fertilized eggs?

JOHNSTON: So, does it matter for...

FLATOW: People who are concerned about...

JOHNSTON: So I think this question of whether or not this kind of embryo is - morally has the same status as an embryo that was created by fertilization is an unresolved question. A lot of people are opposed to the destruction of embryos created by fertilization, and now we have one created by cloning, and the question is is it the same kind of thing in terms of its status?

And that's not a question I can answer for - it's a very contentious, about which a lot of people have different feelings about what is a human embryo and what is its moral status, and what can we do with it.

FLATOW: George Daley, we have another type of technology to get these types of cells, don't we, without creating embryos?

DALEY: Yes, in fact it was the subject of this past year's Nobel Prize. Shinya Yamanaka, a Japanese scientist, taught us that if you take just a couple of genes that are normally expressed in embryo-derived stem cells and transfer those genes into let's say a skin cell from a particular patient, you can reset the skin cell back to its embryonic state. These are called induced pluripotent stem cells, or IPS cells.

And IPS cells look to all of us to be virtually identical to embryo-derived stem cells. They have, you know, tremendous potential for teaching us about disease and maybe one day for actually treating disease. Now in reality, though, when we look very carefully at the molecular details of the IPS cells, there are still some lingering questions as to whether they are identical to the embryo-derived cells.

We did an experiment a few years ago in mice where we very carefully compared these IPS cells to embryo-derived stem cells and to this new type of stem cell, the ones derived by cloning or nuclear transfer. And in that experiment it looked like the cloned stem cells had very subtle advantages. They were slightly more similar to the natural stem cells.

And whether that's going to be relevant in the human context to studying disease or treating disease, we don't know. But this new breakthrough, this human nuclear transfer stem cell, now gives us the ability to make that ultimate comparison. So from a scientific point of view, this is in fact an important contribution.

FLATOW: There is another difference in that you are inserting the nucleus, the DNA, into the cytoplasm, right, of the...

DALEY: Yes, this is a very important point, as well. So one of the real advantages of nuclear transfer, if you will, is to potentially treat a range of diseases that are called mitochondrial disorders. Now in the egg, the - obviously the DNA encodes for most of the genes, but there are these little factories, these sort of power plants of the cell, called mitochondria, which are small structures that live outside of the nucleus.

They are inherited from the mother in her cytoplasm. Now if you have defective mitochondria, you can have a range of diseases called Kearns-Sayre syndrome or Pearson's syndrome. These can be devastating diseases. They can be associated with eye muscle abnormalities or muscle weakness or bone marrow failure. We've seen kids here at the Children's Hospital who die of these diseases.

Nuclear transfer actually allows you to generate an egg or an early embryo, which has the DNA of the parents but has replaced any defective mitochondria with healthy mitochondria. So this general strategy of nuclear transfer does have a legitimate medical application in the treatment of mitochondrial diseases.

But I want to go on record as saying that there's a clear, bright line between legitimate scientific applications of nuclear transfer, of cloning, and that is to make stem cell, that is different from what I would say is an illegitimate and unsafe application, which would be in reproduction, in making babies.

I don't think any legitimate scientist wants to take this technology forward to making babies, but to make cells and to study cells is of great medical value.

FLATOW: Dr. Johnston?

JOHNSTON: Well, I think that Dr. Daley is right in pointing out that there is a significant, significant consensus against the use of this technology for reproductive cloning in the scientific community. And that's reflected also in some state laws in the U.S. and also some laws in other countries that have distinguished between reproductive uses and research and therapeutic uses of this technology.

I would say that I don't think we've had a really significant public debate about reproductive cloning and what would - why we would ever want to do it and what any reasons might be for doing it. It's fairly widely assumed to be a negative use, and many people are opposed to it.

We don't have a national law on that, but a number of states that have put money into stem cell research have gone - have passed laws at a state level that permit therapeutic uses of this technology but ban reproductive uses. So it is a very popular and important distinction.

FLATOW: But do you suspect someone might do it someplace, somewhere?

DALEY: Well, you know, it's...

FLATOW: I mean, we had Dolly the Sheep.

DALEY: We don't know what is going to be practiced, and in fact there was one published attempt some years ago of the use of nuclear transfer to create a cloned embryo and to do a transfer to create a pregnancy. That was done offshore. The Food and Drug Administration is on record as saying that it would fall within their jurisdiction if this type of approach were practiced for human fertility.

FLATOW: OK, let me interrupt you. We'll get - we have to take a break. We'll talk lots more about that, our number 1-800-989-8255, talking with Josephine Johnston and George Daley on SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow, this is SCIENCE FRIDAY from NPR.


FLATOW: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. We're talking this hour about the breakthrough announced this week in cloning of a human embryo with my guests, we were talking about this, George Daley of Boston Children's Hospital, Josephine Johnston of The Hastings Center.

When I rudely interrupted you, Dr. Daley, you were talking about whether you think anybody would ever actually go down the full Dolly path and clone a human, and you said this is under FDA regulation, and that it probably, most likely, for sure, the FDA would not permit this. But I'm thinking of somewhere around the other parts of the world, where there is no tight regulation of this.

DALEY: And that's true, and I think there is - there is one published account of an attempt. I mean, I think the question that's raised is, you know, does there need to be, you know, a new law, and I'm making the point that the Food and Drug Administration already has jurisdiction and would step in and prevent this.

And so my concern is that any new law, as it's been debated in the past in the U.S. Congress, has tended to conflate the legitimate scientific applications of nuclear transfer, the so-called therapeutic cloning, and the illegitimate reproductive aspect. I'm worried that the politicization of this issue would end up with a law that would outlaw all sorts of nuclear transfer research, and that would be, I think - have a very, very negative effect on the science, which is extremely valuable and should continue.

FLATOW: Dr. Johnston, does it matter ethically that the women were paid for using their eggs?

JOHNSTON: Well, this is something that's - about which there's a significant debate. So I personally have come forward towards the end of believing that it is permissible to pay participants in research for their participation, and I don't see why would treat egg donors any differently in that regard than we treat other people who are involved in research and often compensated for their time.

So I don't see that as inherently trouble. I will point out, of course, that egg donation carries risks with it, and so we want to be very careful that we understand those risks and that they're clearly communicated and that they are balanced against the benefits of the research.

FLATOW: Let me go to one call from Ron(ph) in Manchester, New Hampshire. Hi Ron.

RON: Hi, amazing topic, and I (unintelligible), correct me if I'm wrong. My understanding is a major difference between a regular somatic cell and a cell derived - you know, an embryo derived the conventional way has to do with the telomeres on the chromosomes, that, you know, the gonadal tissues that give rise to the reproductive cells can clip the telomeres and make them young.

But like, if you start with an adult cell, and the cell - the chromosomes have already aged, and they have these longer telomeres, you know, one would think that would be a major difference between these embryos and conventionally derived embryos.

DALEY: Yeah, so telomeres are like the little plastic at the end of your shoelace that keeps it from fraying. The telomeres are on the ends of each of the human chromosomes, and they end in the cells of the gonads and let's say the sperm and the egg, they tend to be kind of rejuvenated with each cycle of life.

The cloning process, as with the reprogramming process that Yamanaka taught us about, actually re-grows the telomeres. So we believe that the stem cells that arise from the process are in a way rejuvenated, and so we wouldn't have to worry about the aging of these chromosomes by deterioration of telomeres. So the stem cells really function very well.

FLATOW: If you then created new body parts or use them therapeutically, the stem cells, and they had rejuvenated telomeres, would - does it mean that those body parts are younger?

DALEY: Well, I mean, to say that all aging has to do with the deterioration of the telomeres is a - you know, that's simplistic. Aging is a very complex process that affects lots of aspects of the cells. But if you're just looking at telomeres, when we make stem cells in a Petri dish and tissues from them, they have been rejuvenated at the level of their telomeres. So yes, they would be healthier and younger, if you will.



JOHNSTON: One thing that the caller raises in my mind is that we have had some experience with cloning in animals, reproductive cloning, and there have been - it seems that there are medical problems with the offspring. And so what the caller's question made me think about the fact that even if the cells, the stem cells that we get out of the cloned embryos are medically useful and helpful, it's not clear that any reproductive use of those embryos would result in healthy children, which is one of the reasons why there is so much concern about reproductive cloning and why that would represent a significant ethical question about whether it could be done safely, if it would be done at all.

DALEY: Yeah, I would echo that. We have had experience with cloning over a dozen different mammals, from mice to pigs to cats, dogs, cows and the like, and, you know, where you can tell, these cloned animals have had significant medical problems: shortened life spans; problems with obesity and the like.

And so for that reason I don't think any scientists are comfortable thinking that you're going to use these embryos in reproduction.

FLATOW: One question for you before we go. If you were going to use them therapeutically, as you're speaking, would there be any advantage - let's say a woman needs some therapeutic use of these stem cells - would there be any advantage in taking an egg from the same person that you would take the skin cells to produce the stem cells from?

DALEY: Well you ask an interesting question. I mean whether or not there's any immunogeneticy or an immune response to proteins of the mitochondria, and there is some evidence that that can be - so your question is - yeah, there might be some advantages, but we have the IPS approach.

So if I took a skin biopsy from that woman and reprogrammed her skin cells, I'd be bringing along with it not only her nuclear DNA but her mitochondria, and they would be identical to her. So the real question is: Does a cloned cell have any scientific advantage or medical value that we don't already get from IPS cells?

JOHNSTON: And it's an important question. I happen to think IPS cells are much more flexible and easier to use and will ultimately be the dominant platform, but we have to do the comparison, and we have to answer the questions.

FLATOW: Well, thank you very much for taking time to talk with us about this very interesting subject, George Daley, professor at Harvard Med School, director of the Stem Cell Transplantation Program at Boston Children's Hospital; Josephine Johnston, research scholar at The Hastings Center, that's a bioethics think tank based in Garrison, New York. Thank you both.

DALEY: Thank you for your interest.

JOHNSTON: Thank you very much.

FLATOW: You're welcome.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Mystical branch of Islam has resurgence in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) ? Hundreds of sweating Sufis chant and sway as the lead sheik moves into the middle of a circle of worshippers and bursts into a chant louder than anyone else's

Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, is having a major comeback since al-Shabab, an armed militant Islamic group, was pushed out of Somalia's capital in August 2011. The Sunni insurgents had banned Sufis from gathering and prevented them from worshipping. Sufi sheiks, or elders, were attacked, graves of their saints were desecrated and rituals and celebrations became rare or secretly performed.

Beyond the circle of worshippers are dozens of women, some of them so moved that they are crying. Nearby is the grave of a Sufi saint where the worshippers go to pray to show reverence. Free food, including toasted coffee beans fried in oil, is distributed in wooden containers.

"With Allah's wish, we are here free and worshipping today," said Sheik Abdullahi Osman, a 72-year-old Sufi cleric, who has beads dangling from his neck. Sufis in Mogadishu spend hours feasting, praying, and invoking Allah's name. Traditionally Sufis used sticks to protect their shrines but now it's common to see a guard with an AK-47 slung over his shoulder in this seaside capital.

"There's no choice other than defending ourselves and our faith," said Mohamed Ahmed, an armed Sufi follower guarding the gathering. The arrivals were being checked and other guards stood outside a gate.

Ruqiya Hussein, a veiled woman, traveled from an al-Shabab-held town 90 kilometers (55 miles) away to get to a place of worship.

"I am thrilled to see my sheiks come back to lead us again," she said, squeezing her henna-tattooed fingers before she joined a group of women swaying and chanting rhymes.

Sufis were known for spreading Islam across Somalia through peaceful teaching and practicing tolerance toward other faiths. Some Sufis hope that their style finds fertile ground in a nation recovering from the wounds of extremism and war.

"Unlike others we don't kill or harass people. Instead, we provide examples of how to live." said, Sheik Abdirizaq Aden, the regional leader of the faith.

Al-Shabab, a group of al-Qaida-linked militants that seeks to instill an ultra-conservative brand of Islam across Somalia, controlled Mogadishu from roughly 2007 to 2011. The group still dominates most of south-central Somalia but has seen its territory reduced after military pushes by African Union and Somali forces.

The Sufis in the capital now feel free to practice their faith. In central Somalia, after the graves of sheiks were desecrated and killings occurred, Sufis used weapons to kick militants out of some key towns. The conflict in that part of the Horn of Africa nation persists.

Somalia fell into chaos in 1991 when warlords overthrew longtime dictator Siad Barre and turned on each other. Two decades of violence followed, but the capital and some other towns have seen strong security gains during the last 18 months that have allowed businesses and even sports leagues to thrive.


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Google and NASA Invest In Quantum Computing, Machine Learning ...

Google, NASA, and the Universities Space Research Association have announced that they'll collaborate in purchasing the second $10 million dollar D-Wave Two quantum computing system on the market. The system will deploy to NASA's Ames Research Center, and should be online by the fall of this year, where it'll be put to work solving particular types of problems. Before we delve into that, let's talk a bit about what a quantum computer is -- and what it isn't.

Quantum Annealment

A quantum computer is a computer that uses quantum information to store data. In a classical computer, data is stored electrically, via a 0 (off) or a 1 (on). Quantum bits (called Qubits) can exist in a superposition of possible states simultaneously. They are, in other words, non-binary.

Dwave's older, 128-wire chip

D-Wave's systems are not this sort of quantum computer. D-Wave's computers use a type of computation known as quantum annealing, in which the interacting bits being used to solve an equation are dropped into their lowest energy state. This process -- if done extremely slowly -- creates a solution to the problem in question. One of the caveats of D-Wave's systems is that the chips work best when problems can be mapped directly on to the super-cooled circuitry.
D-Wave's chips, in other words, aren't general purpose computing devices. These aren't products that'll ever replace the Intel or AMD processor in your current box; they rely on cooling the CPU down to temperatures best measured in Kelvin, not Celsius. But when you hand them problems they can solve, they're extremely quick. The system NASA and Google are buying can eventually be upgraded to a 2048-bit chip (from the current 512-bit version) when it becomes available.

Researchers have been slow to hail D-Wave's computer as a genuine quantum computer, partly because the company has been tight-lipped about the capabilities and function of its processor, but several published papers have increased confidence. The general consensus is that D-Wave's systems are performing some quantum operations, even if they don't represent a full quantum computer as classically conceived. One of the differences between the D-Wave quantum system and a conventional CPU is that flaws in the D-Wave processor that limit the number of bits it can compute with at a given time don't fundamentally compromise the chip's function. Improving yields, however, remains a focus of the company's efforts.

In the right circumstances, D-Wave's solution can be up to 10,000 times faster than current conventional silicon. As we've said, that speed boost isn't a guarantee -- code has to map fairly precisely to the chip's capabilities to make that happen -- but it's a huge increase at a time when conventional silicon scaling has faltered. D-Wave's systems aren't likely to lead to a fundamentally new means of building consumer products, but driving huge increases through enterprise and scientific computing could help us find the replacement for silicon that the entire semiconductor industry is currently hunting for.


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Oncothyreon slumps on new cancer drug data

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Oncothyreon Inc. fell Thursday after the drug developer announced new clinical trial data about an experimental lung cancer treatment that failed to improve overall survival rate.

THE SPARK: Oncothyreon said that it identified some patients who appeared to live longer after treatment with Stimuvax. In a group of 806 patients who received a combination of chemotherapy and radiation at the same time, patients who took L-BLP25 lived for 30.8 months on average. That compares with 20.6 months for patients who were given a placebo.

About two-thirds of the patients in the trial were treated that way. The rest received chemotherapy and then radiation. The patients had inoperable, locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

THE BIG PICTURE: The Seattle company again said that L-BLP25 did not meet its main goal in the study. in December Oncothyreon said patients who were treated with chemotherapy, radiation, and the drug had median survival of 25.6 months and placebo patients had survival of 22.3 months.

L-BLP25 is designed to work by stimulating the body's immune system so that it can identify and destroy cancer cells. It is the most advanced drug in Oncothyreon's pipeline of products under development, according to the company's website. It has no products on the market. Oncothyreon licensed the experimental drug to a division of the German company Merck KGaA, which conducted the study.

Side effects of L-BLP25 included injection site reactions, breathlessness, fatigue, back pain, nausea, chest pain, headache, decreased appetite and joint pain.

THE ANALYSIS: Cowen & Co. analyst Simos Simeonidis said the latest trial results represent an "unexpected comeback" for L-BLP25 because the results are impressive and they come from a large group of patients. He said Merck KGaA has not announced a decision on the drug but he said he would be surprised it if ended its partnership with Oncothyreon.

Simeonidis rates Oncothyreon shares a "Buy."

SHARE ACTION: Shares of Oncothyreon dropped 53 cents, or 20.3 percent, to $2.08 in midday trading. The stock fell 51 percent on Dec. 19 after Oncothyreon reported the earlier study data. The stock had gained 19 percent since then.


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Lego Mindstorms EV3 intros three new models, ready for summer tour (video)

DNP Lego Mindstorms EV3 introduces three new bonus models video

When Lego introduced the Mindstorms EV3 earlier this year, it bundled building instructions for five "hero" models, several of which can be seen in our CES hands-on. But that complex kit of sensors, modules and bricks lends itself to endless possibilities, and Lego community members have come up with 12 more designs, three of which were unveiled today. These include a dinosaur, a guitar and a whack-a-mole-style arcade game.

From our brief hands-on, all three models seem worthy additions to the original lineup. We enjoyed the sauntering steps of the mini triceratops and the way it snaps and backs off from obstacles, the fun bloops and bleeps of the guitar, and delighted in the sheer satisfaction of bopping a popped "mole." The latter two, particularly, are decidedly whimsical implementations compared to the usual ambling robot -- and we can't wait for Lego reveal the rest of the bonus models later this year.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City Presents the Atlantic City Food ...


Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City will proudly present the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival?s fifth annual celebration, beginning Thursday, July 25, with events taking place throughout the weekend.The four-day culinary and spirits festival, will feature a star-studded roster of the world?s most renowned culinary experts and TV personalities, including Robert Irvine, Rocco DiSpirito and The Neelys, and more.? Festival guests will have access to events at all four Caesars Entertainment resorts and casinos ? Caesars, Harrah?s Resort, Showboat and Bally?s, and this year, the beach!

?Tourism along the Jersey Shore and famed Atlantic City Boardwalk is alive and well and we?re thrilled to bring back the exciting Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival for its fifth anniversary celebration,? says Danny Brockdorf, Regional Vice President of Marketing for Caesars Entertainment. ??Despite the challenges brought on by Hurricane Sandy last October, the Jersey Shore is as strong as ever and we are looking forward to attracting both new visitors and loyalists to Atlantic City for a weekend of amazing food, great wine and spirits and all-round Jersey fun.?

?Amazing Venues ? Celebrity Chefs ? Food ? Wine ? The Beach!

The 2013 festival will present an acclaimed roster of both local and national talent and will once again showcase several of the world?s greatest culinary influencers as well as authorities in the wine, beer and spirits industry. With access to a multitude of unparalleled events including delicious tastings and dazzling demonstrations, the festival will offer delicacies for every palate.? Festival highlights include:


  • The Grand Market: Foodies, prepare your palate for perfection! The signature event of the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival, The Grand Market will most certainly be the indulgence highlight of your year.? Our exclusive world of dining perfection is sure to excite, inspire and amaze. Eat and drink your way through this eclectic tasting village. Featuring a wide selection of foods, wines, craft brews and liquors from world-renowned culinary masters, you will experience a true flavor adventure during your three-hour gourmet journey. And when you find something you love, take it home with you! Purchase your favorite flavors while culinary demos by celebrity chefs provide you with tips to enhance your home dining experiences.


  • Blues Brews & BBQ: Throw on your boots, foodies ? this festival is taking a tasty trip to the south! Kick your feet up as BBQ vendors take over and cook up some the best ribs, chicken and brisket you?ve ever tasted. And let?s not forget about the ice-cold beer! While you?re here, you can purchase some of the latest BBQ merchandise around.


  • Beach Soir?e: It?s time to let loose and have some fun, because when the sun goes down, the festival heats up. Enjoy an evening beachside party while savoring refreshing cocktails and gourmet passed appetizers. After all, live entertainment, dancing and fun are always a great way to end your day. Robert Irvine and The Neelys will host this exclusive Beach Soiree, welcoming you to a party that you won?t soon forget.


  • Gospel Brunch: Start your Sunday with some serious flavor! Join us at the House of Blues for an inspiring gospel performance and an amazing buffet. The Neelys will be on hand to welcome you with a tasty hospitality and a hearty spread. While the choir performs, you can enjoy a delicious, traditional buffet featuring pecan caramel sticky buns, hickory-smoked bacon and sausage links, homemade biscuits and country gravy, homemade waffles, an omelet station, southern fried chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, Creole chicken and shrimp jambalaya and much more!?


  • Island Luau: Aloha indulgence! It?s time to party, island-style. Immerse yourself into a world of hula dancers and flamethrowers while The Neelys host this island luau featuring their spin on some of your favorite Hawaiian treats. Throughout the event, you?ll be whisked away to a tropical oasis right here on the Harrah?s Resort Pool Deck as the sun majestically sets in the distance. Come hungry, because on this island the food really is paradise!


Tickets for the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival will go on sale March 8, 2013 and can be purchased online at, or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-736-1420.

Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards members will have the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets to all Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival events during the pre-sale dates, beginning Friday, February 22nd at 10am.? The Early-Bird public pre-sale starts on Friday, March 1st at 10am with the full public on-sale for all events kicking off on Friday, March 8th at 10am.


About Caesars Entertainment

Caesars Entertainment Corporation is the world?s largest casino entertainment company. Since its beginning in Reno, Nevada, more than 70 years ago, Caesars has grown through development of new resorts, expansions and acquisitions, and now operates casinos on four continents. The company?s resorts operate primarily under the Harrah?s?, Caesars? and Horseshoe? brand names. Caesars also owns the World Series of Poker? and the London Clubs International family of casinos. Caesars Entertainment is focused on building loyalty and value with its guests through a unique combination of great service, excellent products, unsurpassed distribution, operational excellence and technology leadership. Caesars is committed to environmental sustainability and energy conservation and recognizes the importance of being a responsible steward of the environment.? For more information, please visit


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Marijuana users have better blood sugar control

May 15, 2013 ? Regular marijuana use is associated with favorable indices related to diabetic control, say investigators. They found that current marijuana users had significantly lower fasting insulin and were less likely to be insulin resistant, even after excluding patients with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. Their findings are reported in the current issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) has been used for centuries to relieve pain, improve mood, and increase appetite. Outlawed in the United States in 1937, its social use continues to increase and public opinion is swinging in favor of the medicinal use of marijuana. There are an estimated 17.4 million current users of marijuana in the United States. Approximately 4.6 million of these users smoke marijuana daily or almost daily. A synthetic form of its active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC, has already been approved to treat side-effects of chemotherapy, AIDS-induced anorexia, nausea, and other medical conditions. With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in two states and the legalization of medical marijuana in 19 states and the District of Columbia, physicians will increasingly encounter marijuana use among their patient populations.

A multicenter research team analyzed data obtained during the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) between 2005 and 2010. They studied data from 4,657 patients who completed a drug use questionnaire. Of these, 579 were current marijuana users, 1,975 had used marijuana in the past but were not current users, and 2,103 had never inhaled or ingested marijuana. Fasting insulin and glucose were measured via blood samples following a nine hour fast, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated to evaluate insulin resistance.

Participants who reported using marijuana in the past month had lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR and higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). These associations were weaker among those who reported using marijuana at least once, but not in the past thirty days, suggesting that the impact of marijuana use on insulin and insulin resistance exists during periods of recent use. Current users had 16% lower fasting insulin levels than participants who reported never having used marijuana in their lifetimes.

Large waist circumference is linked to diabetes risk. In the current study there were also significant associations between marijuana use and smaller waist circumferences.

"Previous epidemiologic studies have found lower prevalence rates of obesity and diabetes mellitus in marijuana users compared to people who have never used marijuana, suggesting a relationship between cannabinoids and peripheral metabolic processes, but ours is the first study to investigate the relationship between marijuana use and fasting insulin, glucose, and insulin resistance," says lead investigator Murray A. Mittleman, MD, DrPH, of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston.

"It is possible that the inverse association in fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance seen among current marijuana users could be in part due to changes in usage patterns among those with a diagnosis of diabetes (i.e., those with diabetes may have been told to cease smoking). However, after we excluded those subjects with a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, the associations between marijuana use and insulin levels, HOMA-IR, waist circumference, and HDL-C were similar and remained statistically significant," states Elizabeth Penner, MD, MPH, an author of the study.

Although people who smoke marijuana have higher average caloric intake levels than non-users, marijuana use has been associated with lower body-mass index (BMI) in two previous surveys. "The mechanisms underlying this paradox have not been determined and the impact of regular marijuana use on insulin resistance and cardiometabolic risk factors remains unknown," says coauthor Hannah Buettner.

The investigators acknowledge that data on marijuana use were self-reported and may be subject to underestimation or denial of illicit drug use. However, they point out, underestimation of drug use would likely yield results biased toward observing no association.

Editor-in-Chief Joseph S. Alpert, MD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, comments, "These are indeed remarkable observations that are supported, as the authors note, by basic science experiments that came to similar conclusions.

"We desperately need a great deal more basic and clinical research into the short- and long-term effects of marijuana in a variety of clinical settings such as cancer, diabetes, and frailty of the elderly," continues Alpert." I would like to call on the NIH and the DEA to collaborate in developing policies to implement solid scientific investigations that would lead to information assisting physicians in the proper use and prescription of THC in its synthetic or herbal form."


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