Archive for June, 2008

Lifting the Veil of Depression

June 30, 2008

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 21 million Americans suffer from some kind of depressive disorder. For about 4 million of the most severe cases, no treatment can help. But there is a promising experimental therapy now in clinical trials that, in essence, “rewires” the brain. It is most definitely medicine on the cutting edge.

Diane Hire of Norwalk, Ohio, is 54 years old. For the past 20 years, she has lived with severe, unrelenting depression.

“You felt like a dead person walking. There was just nothing left in me,” Hire told ABC News. “I had no emotion left. I had no energy left. I had nothing. I was an empty shell of a person.”

She was prescribed one anti-depressant after another, as well as psychotherapy. Nothing worked. She tried to commit suicide three times. (more…)

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Mr. Rogers’ memory lives on in scholarships

June 30, 2008

LOS ANGELES, CA – The man in the cardigan himself would’ve been glad to welcome the Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship winners to his neighborhood, his widow said.

The three college students, whose names were announced Sunday, are part of a series of “wonderful young people” who’ve been recognized by the 4-year-old scholarship program named for her husband, the children’s TV host, said Joanne Rogers.

Michael Robb of the University of California, Riverside; Sabrina Connell of the University of Connecticut and Ronald McCants of UC San Diego each receive a $10,000 scholarship. Their media projects and studies focus on such issues as children’s literacy and health.

“The committee that selects them was well-acquainted with Fred. They know his philosophy and they know what he was about,” Joanne Rogers, 80, said this week from her Pittsburgh home as she prepared to fly to Los Angeles for Sunday’s ceremony.

(more…)

MLB honors Negro Leaguers in Draft

June 30, 2008

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – Clubs selected former ballplayers to represent historic legacy. Bobo Henderson realized the significance of the day.

“It’s just like being born again,” Henderson said on Thursday as he sat waiting for what had been decades in coming.

Finally, Henderson, a shortstop and outfielder with the Kansas City Monarchs, and 29 others from Negro Leagues’ yesteryears were welcomed into the family of Major League Baseball.

It was a day Henderson won’t forget.

Nor will the people behind the idea.

“I’ve often said Jackie Robinson coming to the big leagues was baseball proudest moment,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Therefore, the recognition of all these people who played a role in that day, should have been recognized and, in many cases, should have been playing in Major League Baseball, I’m proud of that.” (more…)

Nobel prize winner reunited with sister lost in WWII

June 30, 2008

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – University of Utah geneticist Mario Capecchi got a bonus after winning the Nobel Prize for medicine last fall: He learned he has a younger sister.

Capecchi, 70, and half-sister Marlene Bonelli, 69, met last month in northern Italy. It was technically a reunion, but really more of an introduction; they were too young to remember when they were separated in the early days of World War II.

Bonelli had long believed that Capecchi and their mother had died in the war, he told The Salt Lake Tribune. (more…)

Junk dealer’s $100,000 gold cup found under bed

June 30, 2008

DORCHESTER, England – Englishman John Webber thought nothing of the small, shiny cup, passed down from his junk dealer grandfather and stashed under a bed for years, until appraisers said it was an ancient Persian artifact.

The 5½-inch gold cup, which experts have dated to the third or fourth century B.C., fetched $100,000 at an auction in Dorchester, southern England, Thursday.

The identity of the winning bidder wasn’t immediately known.

The relic features the double faced ancient Roman god Janus, the god of gates and doors who always looked to both the future and past and is often associated with beginnings and endings. The cup has two faces with braided hair and entwined snake ornaments at the forehead. (more…)

JCPenney Customers Round-up $1.3 Million for Afterschool Programs

June 30, 2008

PLANO, TX – J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) customers are helping provide children in their own communities with access to life-enriching afterschool programs after donating more than $840,000 during the most recent JCPenney Afterschool Fund Round-up campaign. The JCPenney Afterschool Fund contributed $500,000 in matching funds to the Round-up, providing a total of more than $1.3 million for grants to afterschool programs in JCPenney markets.

Continued support for afterschool programs reflects JCPenney’s philosophy that “Every Day Matters” and represents a key component of JCPenney’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy as outlined in “JCPenney C.A.R.E.S.,” the Company’s first CSR report that was released this month.

During the 10-day Afterschool Round-up campaign in April, JCPenney customers had the opportunity to “round up” their JCPenney purchases to the nearest whole dollar and donate the difference to the non-profit JCPenney Afterschool Fund. One hundred percent of the donations collected at each store will be used to support afterschool programs in the store’s local community, providing customers an opportunity to help children and families in their own hometowns. (more…)

Aurora Partners with Weld Food Bank to Provide Regular Donations

June 30, 2008

BOULDER, CO – Aurora Organic Dairy, a leading U.S. provider of high-quality private-label organic milk and butter, today announced a partnership with the Weld Food Bank whereby the Aurora Organic Dairy Foundation will fund regular donations of organic milk and ground beef to help feed the hungry in Weld County.

Aurora Organic Dairy kicked off the partnership this week with a donation of approximately 600 lbs. of ground beef. Local beef processor Northern Beef donated the processing of the product. Additionally, Aurora Organic Dairy will begin making regular donations of its high-quality organic milk to the Weld Food Bank from its processing plant in Platteville, Colo. In addition to the plant, Aurora Organic Dairy operates three organic dairy farms in Weld County.

“This donation couldn’t have come at a more important time for us,” said Karyl Pierpont, Resource Development Director for the Weld Food Bank. “With school just getting out for the summer, we worry about the children who depend on the free and reduced school lunch programs at their schools. These children are at risk of hunger for the next several months, and a donation like this will go a long way in helping them.” (more…)

Grameen Banking (microcredit) Reaches the USA

June 30, 2008

Grameen Bank, the microcredit financier that was initially set up to help the poorest in Bangladesh, has recently opened its first branch in the United States.

Nobel Prize Laureate and Grameen Bank founder, Muhammad Yunus, originally introduced microcredit financing in 1976. He made his very first loan of 27 dollars from his own pocket, to 42 craftsmen in a village in Bangladesh, saying they could pay it back when they could afford to. Usually, the poor are unable to obtain credit but when they can, they are then charged exorbitant rates of interest. Grameen charges borrowers about 15 per cent a year and requires no collateral. It does not make its recipients sign a legally enforceable contract but rather models its business on trust. (more…)

Coral Reef Alliance

June 30, 2008

“Working Together to Keep Coral Reefs Alive” – Nature has long challenged the hardiness of our reef communities but has never quite managed to completely snuff out the entire life force. The ancestors of today’s reef-building corals go back as far as 200 million years and have even survived the catastrophe that wiped out the dinosaurs. Continents may have shifted, sea levels may have risen and fallen but these stalwart reef survivors always managed to regroup and form new communities. At least until now.

In modern times, humans are collectively the coral colonies most effective predators. Holiday makers break bits off as souvenirs, shops sell them as treasures, swimmers stand on them for respite, divers crush them with flippers and boat operators drag anchors across the top of them. On a larger scale, the use of ‘rock-hopping’ nets and bottom-trawling fishing equipment, the grounding of boats, the use of cyanide or dynamite to fish and sediment run-off due to deforestation, are all taking their toll on the well-being of this living eco-system. (more…)

Tidal Turbines the Way Forward

June 30, 2008

Renewable energy enthusiasts across the world were recently focused on Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough, for the installation of the first ever commercial tidal turbine system. Pioneering developer Marine Current Turbines, are behind the SeaGen system, backed by investments from ethical specialists, Triodos Bank and its clean energy investment fund, Triodos Renewables.

The UK has a massive potential for marine energy, which could provide a fifth of the country’s electricity – the proportion nuclear currently provides. The idea of generating power from the sea is moving from the drawing boards and becoming a reality but it is not without its challenges. (more…)

Indonesians told to plant trees before marrying

June 27, 2008

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Prospective newlyweds in an Indonesian province are being given one more promise to honor: planting trees to help slow the rapid deterioration of the country’s forests.

As Indonesia marks World Environment Day on Thursday, husbands-and brides-to-be in Gorontalo, a rugged mountainous province on Sulawesi island, are being required to plant 10 seedlings supplied by the local government, said Hasyim Alidrus, head of the religious affairs office.

It is part of a nationwide “re-greening” initiative launched by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Bali Conference in Bali last November when million of trees were planted across the vast archipelago.

The program, critics say, is largely symbolic in a nation that is losing its forests at one of the fastest rates in the world due to illegal logging, mining, new oil palm plantations and slash-and-burn land clearing.

Conservationists say deforestation on Borneo island has claimed an area the size of some European countries and continues virtually unabated.

That has hardly dampened the enthusiasm of 27-year-old Khairul Baso and his fiancee, Andini, who received two 6-month-old teak trees along with palm, fruit and flower seedlings ahead of their wedding this weekend.

The couple is just one of nearly 900 that this year received trees from Gorontalo’s religious affairs office, where they are required to register their marriage documents. Couples are required to plant the trees to receive their legal paperwork, Alidrus said, although it was unclear how the rule would be enforced.

Originally posted on Yahoo! Philippines News

New Skin Cancer Treatment Saves Man

June 26, 2008

ATLANTA – A man who had been given less than a year to live had a complete remission of advanced deadly skin cancer after an experimental treatment that revved up his immune system to fight the tumors.

The 52-year-old patient’s dramatic turnaround was the only success in a small study, leading doctors to be cautious in their enthusiasm. However, the treatment reported in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine is being counted as the latest in a small series of successes involving immune-priming treatments against deadly skin cancers.

“Immunotherapy has become the most promising approach” to late-stage, death-sentence skin cancers, said Dr. Darrell Rigel, a dermatology researcher at the New York University Cancer Institute in New York who had no role in the research.

(more…)

The Optimist’s Handbook

June 26, 2008

Miserable world. Miserable life. Switch on the TV. It’s all doom and gloom. Newspapers are crammed with depressing stories… but is the situation really that bad?

Nick Inman has drawn together a collection of inspiring, thought-provoking ideas for the reader to contemplate. He argues that our world view is too often skewed towards the negative and that we should use optimism to see a more balanced picture of reality.

Optimism, he suggests, is an attitude of hopefulness. It leads to progress and problem-solving. It is the quality of the activist, the campaigner and the world-changer. It looks towards co-operation and compromise and not confrontation.
“We don’t live in a perfect world but it’s better than we seem to think,” Nick says. “My book doesn’t ask you to believe anything – just read the facts and make up your own mind.”

Beautifully designed, The Optimist’s Handbook consists of alphabetically arranged topics, about which there is something positive to say. It offers a hard-nosed look at serious issues as well as the comical aspects of life. Read it and smile!

The Optimist’s Handbook
by Nick Inman
Website: www.harriman-house.com

Free medical tool tackles disease

June 26, 2008

A free and simple piece of open source software is helping manage the spread of disease in developing countries.

The Open Medical Record System (OpenMRS) is providing countries, such as South Africa, with an online patient medical record system.

Users do not require any programming knowledge for the tool which helps improve how people are treated.

It could transform the prevention and treatment of diseases such as HIV and Aids, its developers say.

(more…)

The Big Green Bus

June 26, 2008

Worcestershire, UK – The Big Green Idea is a new charity set up to show people that sustainable living can be really easy, great fun, healthy and inexpensive. The charity’s founder Brigit Strawbridge, believes that if people had access to hands-on information and an opportunity to talk to ‘real people’ living ‘real but low impact lives’ they may be more likely to give it a go themselves.

With the help of some very dedicated volunteers, The Big Green Idea has raised enough money to purchase an old double decker bus, which is currently being re-fitted as a one-stop-eco-information-shop. It will be run on bio-diesel, made from waste vegetable oil.

Driving into towns, cities and rural communities across the UK, the bus will park up for a few days at a time in each location. Visitors will be able to jump on board and source valuable information about local soil conditions, conservation projects, veg box schemes, beekeepers, allotment groups and local growers.

(more…)