Monday, November 21, 2011


CORVALLIS, Ore. (UPI) -- Studies have shown marriage changes men's negative behavior and U.S. researchers say fatherhood can also have an impact on crime, and tobacco and alcohol use.

Lead author David Kerr, assistant professor of psychology at Oregon State University, and colleagues assessed more than 200 at-risk boys annually from the age of 12 to 31 in how their crime, tobacco, alcohol and marijuana use changed over time.

"These decreases were in addition to the general tendency of boys to engage less in these types of behaviors as they approach and enter adulthood," Kerr said in a statement. "Controlling for the aging process, fatherhood was an independent factor in predicting decreases in crime, alcohol and tobacco use."

However, the study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, also found men who were well into their 20s and early 30s when they became fathers showed greater decreases in crime and alcohol use, compared to those who had their first child in their teens or early 20s.

Men who had children at a more developmentally expected time could have been more able or willing to embrace fatherhood and shed negative lifestyle choices, Kerr said.

"This research suggests that fatherhood can be a transformative experience, even for men engaging in high risk behavior," Kerr said. "This presents a unique window of opportunity for intervention because new fathers might be especially willing and ready to hear a more positive message and make behavioral changes."
Copyright 2011 by United Press International

Sunday, November 20, 2011


BOULDER, Colo. (UPI) -- Independent reading doesn't improve children's achievement in reading, at least among children age 11 at the end of elementary school, U.S. researchers say.

Nicole Harlaar of the University of Colorado, Boulder, who led the study when she was with Ohio State University, and colleagues at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said educators have long emphasized the importance of independent reading for fun or leisure.

It was believed getting kids to read more on their own would lead to improved reading scores, Harlaar said

The researcher team looked at reading achievement and independent reading in 436 pairs of identical and same-sex nonidentical twins at age 10 and again a year later at 11.

Reading achievement was assessed using standard measures of word recognition and reading comprehension, while independent reading was assessed by asking each twin questions about his or her motivation to read. Parents estimated how often their children read for pleasure.

The study, published in the journal Child Development, found children's reading achievement at age 10 predicted their independent reading at 11, regardless of how much independent reading they were doing at 10, suggesting that reading achievement influenced later independent reading.

However, the reverse was not true -- after accounting for reading achievement at age 10 -- independent reading at 10 didn't predict reading achievement at 11.
Copyright 2011 by United Press International

Saturday, November 19, 2011


MONTREAL (UPI) -- A good relationship with a teacher mitigates against a child expressing aggression and being the target of aggression at school, researchers in Canada say.

Study leader Mara Brendgen of the University of Quebec at Montreal studied 217 Canadian identical and fraternal twin pairs at age 7.

The twin pairs had different teachers and different classmates. Classmates rated the twins' level of aggressive behavior and the extent to which they were victimized by peers, Brendgen said.

The twins' teachers rated the quality of their relationship with each twin. Genetic effects on aggression were estimated by comparing the similarity in behaviors of identical and fraternal twin pairs, Brendgen said.

The study, published in the journal Child Development, found children genetically vulnerable to being aggressive were more likely to be victimized by their classmates than others, but these children were protected from acting aggressively and being the target of other children's aggression if they had a very good relationship with their teacher.

"Aggressive behavior in middle childhood is at least partly explained by genetic factors, but genetic influences on behavior usually don't operate independently of environmental influences," Brendgen said in a statement.

"Our study found that a good relationship with the teacher -- a relationship that was warm and affectionate and involved open communication -- can protect genetically vulnerable children from being aggressive and, in consequence, from becoming the target of other children's aggressive behavior."
Copyright 2011 by United Press International

Friday, November 18, 2011


STIRLING, England (UPI) -- Joking and pretending with toddlers help them develop life skills such as "learning to think outside of the box," British researchers found.

Dr. Elena Hoicka of the University of Stirling and colleagues examined how the two very similar concepts of joking and pretending -- both involve intentionally doing or saying the wrong thing -- develop in children ages 15-24 months.

"Joking is about doing something wrong just for the sake of it. In contrast, pretending is about doing something wrong which is imagined to be right," Hoicka said in a statement. "For example, parents might use a sponge like a duck while pretending but use a cat as a duck when joking."

The study found parents rely on a range of language styles, sound and non-verbal cues such as when they talk slowly and loudly and repeat their actions.

Conversely, parents tend to cue their children to jokes by showing their disbelief through language, and using a more excited tone of voice.

"We found that most parents employ these different cues quite naturally to help their toddlers understand and differentiate these concepts," Hoicka said in a statement.

"While not all parents feel confident in their natural abilities, the research does show that making the effort to interact in this way with toddlers is important," Hoicka said in a statement. "Knowing how to joke is great for making friends, dealing with stress, thinking creatively and learning to think outside the box."
Copyright 2011 by United Press International

Thursday, November 17, 2011


BUFFALO, N.Y. (UPI) -- Mutilation, mutation, monstrosity, murder and mayhem offer a way for us to understand our own modern fears, a U.S. horror expert says.

David Castillo, an associate professor at the University at Buffalo, said the Spanish baroque period, roughly 1600-1720, provided the historical roots of horror in the modern age.

Castillo said that era's tales of supernatural visitations, terrifying visions, haunted houses and man-made horrors are not unlike those found online or in the tabloid press today.

David Schmid, a professor of English at the university, focuses on cultural monstrosities -- those among us whom we perceive as "monsters" and the role they play in our self-perception as individual and social beings.

Although his work focused on the serial killer as an American popular-culture figure, Schmid also studies how society safely represents and addresses the anxieties of our time through the use of other monsters, such as zombies and vampires.

"The monsters I'm most interested in are the ones that exist in plain sight -- the most distinctive and numerous monsters in any culture are the ones that we don't immediately recognize," Schmid, the author of "Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture" and "True Crime," said in a statement.

"I conduct research on killers and their place in our cultural imagination but I also want to extend that focus to other monstrous figures and institutions: the abusers at [the notorious Iraqi prison] Abu Ghraib, those whose apparent normality makes them no less destructive and murderous: the banks that are destroying lives while reaping record profits and the corporations who are poisoning the planet for their bottom line."
Copyright 2011 by United Press International

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


JERUSALEM (UPI) -- Motherhood is associated with a host of new behaviors that are driven, at least in part, by alterations in brain function, researchers in Israel say.

Study leader Dr. Adi Mizrahi of Hebrew University in Jerusalem and his postdoctoral colleague Dr. Lior Cohen exposed three groups of mice -- mice that had experienced interaction with their pups, lactating mother mice and mice that had not given birth -- to pup odors, and then monitored both spontaneous and sound-evoked activity of neurons in the auditory cortex.

The primary auditory cortex is known as a site that undergoes functional changes in response to sensory input from the environment, the researchers said.

The odors triggered dramatic changes in auditory processing only in the females that had interacted with pups, while the lactating mothers were the most sensitive to pup sounds.

The study, published in the journal Neuron, said olfactory, or the sense of smell and auditory integration, appeared in lactating mothers shortly after they had given birth and had a particularly strong effect on the detection of pup distress calls.

"We have shown that motherhood is associated with a rapid and robust appearance of olfactory-auditory integration in the primary auditory cortex occurring along with stimulus-specific adaptation to pup distress calls," Mizrahi said in a statement. "These processes help to explain how changes in neocortical networks facilitate efficient detection of pups by their caring mothers."
Copyright 2011 by United Press International

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Gregor Johann Mendel (July 20, 1822 – January 6, 1884) was an Austrian Augustinian friar and scientist, who gained posthumous fame as the founder of the new science of genetics for his study of the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants. Mendel showed that the inheritance of these traits follows particular laws, which were later named after him. The significance of Mendel's work was not recognized until the turn of the 20th century. The independent rediscovery of these laws formed the foundation of the modern science of genetics.

Mendel was born into an ethnic German family in Heinzendorf bei Odrau, Austrian Silesia, Austrian Empire (now Hynčice, Czech Republic), and was baptized two days later as Johann. He was the son of Anton and Rosine (Schwirtlich) Mendel, and had one older sister (Veronica) and one younger (Theresia). They lived and worked on a farm which had been owned by the Mendel family for at least 130 years. During his childhood, Mendel worked as a gardener, studied beekeeping, and as a young man attended Gymnasium (school) in Opava. Later, from 1840 to 1843, he studied practical and theoretical philosophy as well as physics at the University of Olomouc Faculty of Philosophy, taking a year off through illness. When Mendel entered the Faculty of Philosophy, the Department of Natural History and Agriculture was headed by Johann Karl Nestler, who conducted extensive research of hereditary traits of plants and animals, especially sheep. In 1843 Mendel began his training as a priest. Upon recommendation of his physics teacher Friedrich Franz, he entered the Augustinian Abbey of St Thomas in Brno in 1843. Born Johann Mendel, he took the name Gregor upon entering religious life. In 1851 he was sent to the University of Vienna to study under the sponsorship of Abbot C. F. Napp. At Vienna, his professor of physics was Christian Doppler. Mendel returned to his abbey in 1853 as a teacher, principally of physics, and by 1867, he had replaced Napp as abbot of the monastery.
Besides his work on plant breeding while at St Thomas's Abbey, Mendel also bred bees in a bee house that was built for him, using bee hives that he designed. He also studied astronomy and meteorology, founding the 'Austrian Meteorological Society' in 1865. The majority of his published works were related to meteorology.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


(ARA) - Do you feel tired all day, even if you slept a full 8 hours? Do you suffer from unexplained headaches, high blood pressure, cardiac problems and excessive daytime sleepiness? Believe it or not, all your problems could stem from snoring.

Snoring is more than just bothersome, it can be hazardous to your health. That's because snoring is the most common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition that literally causes you to stop breathing a multitude of times at night. And you often aren't even aware it's happening.

People suffering from OSA stop breathing at night when their jaw, throat and tongue muscles relax, which causes the airway to become obstructed. Snoring is a symptom that the obstruction is occurring. OSA has been linked to a host of health problems, including:

* Heart attack
* High blood pressure
* Heart disease
* Stroke
* Depression
* Diabetes

Diagnosing and treating OSA can be a costly affair. A full sleep study to diagnose the problem can cost up to $5,000 or more, must be done at a certified sleep center and involves an overnight stay. Prescribed treatments may include losing weight, wearing a costly and uncomfortable continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device that forces air through your nose and mouth to keep your airways open, or even surgery.

The My Snoring Solution chinstrap can help for just $119

There is a more cost-effective, simpler alternative. Recent studies have shown that wearing a jaw supporter while sleeping can effectively treat snoring and sleep apnea. Recently, a clinical trial conducted at the Kochi Hospital in Japan demonstrated how a chinstrap alone improved obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. A strap can reposition the jaw and tongue, preventing obstruction from occurring.

The news comes as no surprise to Stephen Matthews, inventor of the My Snoring Solution chinstrap. Matthews himself suffered from OSA until a flash of inspiration prompted him to wear a makeshift chinstrap to sleep. Years later, the My Snoring Solution chinstrap has helped thousands of wearers relieve snoring symptoms, sleep better and feel healthier.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Envían bombas de agua para sellar planta de Fukushima

sábado 2 de abril de 2011 12:00 AM
Washington.- Dos de las tres mayores bombas de cemento del mundo, fabricadas por una firma alemana que ya intervino en Chernobyl, serán entregadas la semana próxima para emplearse en la accidentada central de Fukushima (Japón), dijo un vocero de la compañía.

La filial norteamericana de la empresa alemana Putzmeister enviará en un avión de carga Antonov dos máquinas que disponen de un brazo flexible capaz de elevarse 70 metros y arrojar agua o cemento sobre los reactores para enfriarlos, dijo Kelly Blickle, acotó AFP.

El operador japonés Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) utilizará esos equipos para arrojar agua sobre los reactores, precisó la empresa.

Los responsables de Tepco "no dijeron por el momento si inyectarían cemento. Pero es una opción sin tener que agregar otros equipos", agregó.

Sólo existen tres artefactos con esta capacidad en el mundo. Dos clientes estadounidenses de Putzmeister -grandes constructoras propietarias de las máquinas- aceptaron ceder dos de ellas para ayudar a detener la catástrofe.

En Fukushima ya está en servicio una bomba de ese tipo con una capacidad de 58 m, y otras dos sirven para entrenamiento.

Otras dos máquinas de 62 m -una de las cuales ya llegó a Japón ayer- fueron enviadas directamente desde Alemania.

Con las dos bombas enviadas desde Estados Unidos, serán siete las máquinas de la empresa alemana, con sede en Aichtal, cerca de Stuttgart, que estarán operativas en Japón.

Estos brazos gigantescos equipados con bombas e instalados sobre camiones pesan 80 toneladas y se pueden operar por control remoto desde una distancia de 2 km, si bien es necesario un conductor para estacionarlos cerca del reactor.

Una bomba de cemento de este tipo se empleó durante la catástrofe de Chernobyl (Ucrania) en 1986 para restablecer la seguridad alrededor del reactor 4 de la central, dijo el grupo.

La crisis nuclear y humanitaria entró en su tercera semana, mientras miles de personas sin hogar tratan de reconstruir sus vidas, con poca esperanza de una rápida solución.

El Gobierno dijo que aún tenía que decidir cómo apoyar a Tepco, que está lidiando con la peor crisis nuclear desde Chernobyl y podría tener que abordar reclamaciones que superan los 130.000 millones de dólares, según un banco de inversión de Estados Unidos, citó Reuters.

En el devastado noreste del país, muchos japoneses sólo ven los restos desperdigados de sus casas y vidas tras un terremoto de 9,0 de magnitud y un posterior tsunami, que el 11 de marzo causaron unos 28.000 muertos o desaparecidos.

Más de 172.400 personas siguen viviendo en albergues en el noreste de Japón. Muchas zonas devastadas parecen un desguace lleno de basura, con carros que han quedado al lado de edificios derrumbados y barcos todavía sobre carreteras y zonas altas lejos de la costa.

Saturday, March 12, 2011



Jueves 10 de marzo de 2011 Andrés Eloy Martínez | El Universal

Aunque esta potente señal no fue identificada, los astrónomos detectaron características que la delatan como de origen terrestre

A principios de febrero, el gigantesco radiotelescopio de 305 metros de diámetro instalado en Arecibo Puerto Rico, realizaba su cotidiana labor de búsqueda de señales de radio de origen extraterrestre (Proyecto SETI), cuando se topó con una señal de intensidad inusual que la NASA consideró como un probable señal proveniente de alguna civilización extraterrestre, según dio a conocer la agencia espacial.

"Nadie conoce la causa de esta señal. Existe la posibilidad de que se haya originado en una inteligencia extraterrestre", señala un comunicado publicado en internet, que muestra una fotografía con la gráfica de la señal detectada.

Los colores brillantes sobre el azul de fondo de esta, indican que una señal anómala fue recibida en la Tierra por un radiotelescopio involucrado en el programa de Búsqueda de Inteligencia Extraterrestre (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI).

De acuerdo con la NASA, distintos grupos realizan la investigación de estas señales, incluyendo a miembros voluntarios de la Liga SETI, agrupación de entusiastas en la búsqueda de inteleigencia extraterrestre.

Aunque esta potente señal no fue identificada, los astrónomos identificaron características que la delatan como de origen terrestre. Si bien aun no se puede precisar el origen exacto de la señal, es factible que se haya originado en una modulación fortuita entre un satélite GPS y una fuente terrena no identificada.

Según la NASA ,muchas señales extrañas provenientes del espacio, todavía no han sido identificadas.

Hasta hoy, ninguna señal ha sido lo suficientemente potente o prolongada para para que se le identifique sin ambigüedad como originaria de una inteligencia extraterrestre.

El proyecto Argus de la liga SETI, ha dado seguimiento a las señales extrañas, desde la famosa "Wow" captada en 1977, muchas de ellas detectadas una sola vez y jamás vueltas a escuchar.

El entusiasmo de los científicos por encontrar inteligencias extraterrestres ha crecido en los últimos años, ante el hallazgo de exoplanetas, que podrían existir en un número alrededor de 50 mil millones, sólo en nuestra galaxia, de los cuales 500 mil podrían tener vida, que pudo evolucionar como en la Tierra, hacia inteligencias similares a la humana.

Para un gran número de científicos la pregunta no es si existen criaturas pensantes como nosotros, sino cuando haremos contacto con ellas.


No one knows for sure what caused this signal. There is a slight possibility that it just might originate from an extraterrestrial intelligence. The bright colors on the blue background indicate that an anomalous signal was received here on Earth by a radio telescope involved in a Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). A search for these signals is ongoing by several groups including volunteer members of the SETI League. Time labels the vertical axis of the above plot, and frequency marks the horizontal axis. Although this strong signal was never positively identified, astronomers have identified in it many attributes characteristic of a more mundane and ultimately terrestrial origin. In this case, a leading possibility is that the signal originates from an unusual modulation between a GPS satellite and an unidentified Earth-based source. Many unusual signals from space remain unidentified. No signal has yet been strong enough or run long enough to be unambiguously identified as originating from an extraterrestrial intelligence.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


International Women's Day has been observed since in the early 1900's, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.
Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women's oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman's Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
n 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women's clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin's suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women's Day was the result.
Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women's Day (IWD) was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic 'Triangle Fire' in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women's Day events. 1911 also saw women's 'Bread and Roses' campaign.

On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women's Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Wommen's Day ever since. In 1914 further women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women's solidarity.
On the last Sunday of February, Russian women began a strike for "bread and peace" in response to the death over 2 million Russian soldiers in war. Opposed by political leaders the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date the women's strike commenced was Sunday 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.
1918 - 1999
Since its birth in the socialist movement, International Women's Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. For decades, IWD has grown from strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women's rights and participation in social, political and economic processes. 1975 was designated as 'International Women's Year' by the United Nations. Women's organisations and governments around the world have also observed IWD annually on 8 March by holding large-scale events that honour women's advancement and while diligently reminding of the continued vigilance and action required to ensure that women's equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life.
2000 and beyond
IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.
Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.
Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole month of March as 'Women's History Month'.
So make a difference, think globally and act locally !! Make everyday International Women's Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Organ transplant program under review
WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The network that oversees organ transplant policy is considering a proposal that would give priority to younger, healthier kidney patients.

Currently patients who have been on a waiting list the longest and who are the sickest often get the best kidneys in a system that was last overhauled in 1986, The Washington Post reported.

"We're trying to best utilize the gift of the donated organ," said Kenneth Andreoni, an associate professor of surgery at Ohio State University and chairman of the committee reviewing the transplant system for the United Network for Organ Sharing.

UNOS is a private non-profit group contracted by the federal government to coordinate organ allocation.

Some 87,000 Americans are awaiting kidneys. The Post said 4,000 die each year awaiting kidney transplants while 17,000 operations are performed annually.

"It's an effort to get the most out of a scarce resource," Andreoni said.

Critics said the changes could result in age discrimination.

"The best kidneys are from young adults under age 35 years. Nobody over the age of 50 will ever see one of those," said Lainie Friedman Ross, a University of Chicago bioethicist and physician. "We're making it harder for them to get a kidney ... it's age discrimination."

The proposed change, which would put kidney allocation closer to the system used for livers, hearts and lungs, could have implications for how other medical resources are allocated.

"It's a big shift," said Arthur C. Caplan, a University of Pennsylvania bioethicist.

The public has until April 1 to comment.

Copyright 2011 by United Press International