University of Utah study finds suicide may be linked to air pollution

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A University of Utah study published on Tuesday in The American Journal of Epidemiology suggests air pollution may increase suicide rates.

The team analysed suicide records for over 1,500 people from Salt Lake County, Utah from 2000 through 2010. Comparing to air pollution exposure in the three days prior to death the scientists noticed an increase of 20% for deaths amongst those exposed to high nitrogen dioxide.

High exposure to fine particulates in the three days prior to death led to a 5% increase. For men, the rates when exposed to nitrogen dioxide were 25% higher than average. Middle-aged men were particularly affected.

The scientists believe air pollution combines with other factors to increase suicides, rather than triggering them itself. Doctor Amanda Bakian, one of the researchers, said “As suicide risk was found to differ by age and gender, this suggests that vulnerability to suicide following air pollution exposure is not uniform across Salt Lake County residents and that some Salt Lake County residents are more vulnerable than others.”

Bakian said research to identify what made individuals susceptible to increased suicide risk after air pollution exposure is planned.

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Man killed in police shooting in Brooklyn, New York

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A man was shot and killed by police officers in East New York, Brooklyn, New York who were responding to a 9-1-1 call reporting a home invasion late Thursday night. The deceased, 26-year-old Duane Browne, was carrying a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. Police believe he was responding to armed men who had entered his home.

According to police reconstruction of events, as Browne’s brother, 31-year-old Dale Ogarro, approached the home on 943 Schenck Ave., he was accosted by two armed men who demanded “where’s the money!” He was forced into the building’s basement. His girlfriend in a nearby car called 9-1-1 five times to report the invasion. The robbers escaped as police approached. When police arrived, Ogarro reported he was unharmed but did not say the robbers had left or his brother was carrying a gun. Browne exited the house through a back door holding the revolver and police ordered him to drop it. When he failed to do so, police shot him.

Police found 11 bags of cannabis and a scale in a basement closet. According to police, Ogarro has been arrested in the past on several drug charges, and the firearm he carried was unregistered.

On December 12, 2011, police officer Peter J. Figoski was killed while responding to a burglary at a nearby home.


First winter snowfall in New Zealand

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Overnight Friday a Southerly storm brought snow to both the Southern Alps and the central North Island mountains of New Zealand for the first time this year, closing major roads and stranding travellers at the start of the Queens Birthday holiday weekend. Police and the AA urged motorists to drive with extra care and to the conditions this weekend.

In the North Island, State Highway 1 between Waiouru and Rangipo, the Desert Road was closed by deep snow at 3 PM on Friday afternoon. Other roads in the area, including other parts of State Highway 1 between Bulls and Turangi, State Highway 4, via National Park, and 49, via Ohakune, were closed at 8 PM.

These road closures stopped all traffic through the centre of the North Island. About 200 travellers were reported to have spent the night at the Waiouru Army Camp, being accommodated in the Marae and the Barracks. Grit trucks and snow ploughs worked overnight to clear the snow and reopen roads, with the Desert Road finally being reopened about 12:30 PM Saturday.

Together with a slip threatening to close State Highway 3 in the Manawatu Gorge and damage to State Highway 2 after floods in the Bay of Plenty a couple of weeks ago, the only reliable alternative route for travellers around the North Island was via Wanganui and Taranaki.

In the South Island, Police and the AA advised that chains were essential when travelling over the mountain passes.

Yesterday, Mount Hutt skifield announced it would be opening Saturday morning. Early Saturday morning, skiers were reported to be queuing at the gates of Mount Hutt skifield, eager to get the first opportunity to hit the slopes in 2005. Other South Island ski fields were also indicating June opening dates.

The weather outlook is for cold southerly winds and rain over the Queens Birthday holiday weekend, with snow down to 400m in the South Island.


News briefs:July 27, 2010

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Report reveals Top 10 most-confusing tech buzzwords

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Danville, California — The California-based Engligh language tracker, Global Language Monitor, released its 2005 list of most confusing – yet frequently cited – high tech buzzwords to be “HTTP,” “Voice Over IP” (VoIP), and “Megapixel.” Closely following were “Plasma,” “Robust,” “WORM” and “Emoticon.”

In early March, the group used a predictive index computer algorithm to track specific words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. They were tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Global Language Monitor claims to analyze and catalogue trends in word usage and word choices, focusing on the linguistic impact on various cultures. The GLM says it relies upon a global network of volunteer linguists, professional wordsmiths and other bibliophiles to monitor the trends in the evolution and demise of world languages.

GLM’s list, in order of frequency of use, of the most-confusing technology terms with the group’s explanation as to why they are faulty follows:

  1. HTTP – HyperText Transfer Protocol is the standard protocol used for transmitting web pages (which are written in HTML (HyperText Markup Language)), not text written while hyper on too much Starbucks coffee. There are more than 1 billion references to HTTP on the web alone.
  2. Voice over IP – Voice over Internet Protocol, (pronounced voyp, similar to Detroit) is a way of transmitting voice data over the Internet. VoIP is becoming more popular as services such as Skype offer people free voice communication with anyone with a broad-band connection.
  3. Megapixel – Approximately one million pixels, not a single, big pixel (“mega” is the metric system prefix for million). “Pixel” itself is a technical term which means “picture element”. Digital pictures consist of a grid of millions of pixels, which are square or rectangular dots, each having a single colour.
  4. Plasma – A plasma display (commonly used in televisions) is a flat, lightweight surface with a grid of millions of tiny glass bubbles containing plasma. A digitally controlled electric current flows through the bubbles causing the plasma inside to glow various colours. Plasma displays have nothing to do with blood plasma.
  5. Robust – Robustness generally means “it won’t break easily.” It supposedly describes computer programs or hardware that have been well-tested and demonstrated to not crash or fail often, but since it is a vague term by nature (how robust is robust?) it is frequently used by marketing types regardless.
  6. WORM – While a worm is a type of computer virus, WORM stands for ’Write Once, Read Many’. It describes a file system primarily used for optical disks, such as CDs and DVDs. For example, CD-Rs can only be written (or “burned”) once but afterwards can be read many times (otherwise you could only listen to your music CD once). This excludes re-writable CDs which can be written many times.
  7. Emoticon – Emoticon stands for emotional icon. An emoticon is a sequence of characters that look visually like a face and are used in text chat to convey emotion. The most common emoticon is the smiley face – 🙂 – which looks like two eyes and a mouth turned 90 degrees.
  8. Best of Breed – Not to be confused with the Westminster Dog Show, a best-of-breed product is a personalized solution made of components from various manufacturers; in other words, it’s a sort of high tech ‘mix-and-match’.
  9. Viral Marketing – A recent marketing trend which relies on word-of-mouth to spread, rather than traditional advertising strategies. It is called “viral” because as people talk about it, the marketing message “spreads” to new people, who in turn inform others, and so on, which is how viruses spread. The Burger King “Subservient Chicken” campaign is considered an example of viral marketing. Computer viruses used by spammers to turn desktop computers into “zombie” spam relays are something completely different.
  10. Data Migration – Data migration is an idealistic (though usually impossible) concept where data can be used by different versions of the program in which it was created (newer or older). The migration (migration means “to move”) refers to the fact that the data is moved from one version (or program) to another without difficulty or loss of information. It is a subset of backward and forward compatibility.

Other terms being tracked included “client/server,” “solution,” “paradigm,” “backward compatible,” and the “STUN protocol.”


Magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia felt up and down U.S. east coast, Pentagon evacuated

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A 5.8 earthquake struck 4 miles southwest of Mineral, Virginia, 80 miles south of Washington D.C., at 1:51 p.m. EDT (17:51 UTC) and lasted for 15–30 seconds. The quake had a magnitude of 5.8 with an epicenter 27 miles (43 km) east of Charlottesville, Virginia. A 2.8 aftershock was reported at 2:46 pm EDT (18:46 UTC).

According to Twitter reports, the quake was felt inland as far as Cleveland and Toronto and along the coast from Boston to Georgia. Police sergeant James Ryan, from South Brunswick, New Jersey stated that “The 911 line is flooding with calls right now. People want to know what happened. They want to know if there was an explosion.”

The United States Capitol and The Pentagon in Arlington were evacuated, as were police headquarters and city hall in New York City. Numerous minor injuries have been reported in Washington, D.C.; however, none of them are serious. There have been confirmed reports of damage at the Washington National Cathedral and the Smithsonian Castle. The Pentagon was also damaged when a burst pipe caused flooding. The North Anna Power Station lost offsite power and had to shut down, turning to four diesel generators to maintain cooling of the facility. Both the JFK and Newark airports were briefly shut down and the control towers were evacuated. A release from Amtrak stated that trains will be operating at reduced speed, but no damage has been found on any rail lines. The Washington Metro is also operating on reduced speed, with some stations closed down, while lines are evaluated.

In Boston, it was reported that the building at 111 Devonshire Street appeared to be leaning onto the adjacent building at 50 Milk Street, with fears that it could collapse. The street was blocked off while the Boston Fire Department investigated. However, it was determined that the buildings had always appeared like that. Nevertheless, the Boston Fire Department investigated the roof and the inside of 111 Devonshire St. After 30 minutes, the building was determined to be safe.

This is the second strongest earthquake to originate in Virginia since records have been kept, after the one recorded on May 31, 1897, near Giles County, which was estimated at a magnitude of 5.9.

The Dow initially dropped 50 points after the earthquake struck, but later increased over 100 points.

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The Pentagon was evacuated moments after a 5.8 earthquake was felt throughout the US east cost. Image: U.S. Navy.

A crowd of evacuated businesspeople on Wall Street in New York City. Image: Alec Tabak.

Federal employees evacuated buildings at 13th and C Streets in Washington, D.C.Image: US Department of Agriculture.
The office of the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, D.C. was also evacuated.Image: Antonio Zugaldia.
Building occupants evacuate onto Market Street in Philadelphia.Image: Douglas Muth.
Damage to the Embassy of Ecuador in Washington, D.C. Image: William Neuheisel.
People gather on Vermont Avenue, outside the headquarters of the US Department of Homeland Security, in Washington, DC. Image: Tim1965.
A building in McLean, Virginia sustained some damage to its ceiling. Image: Claire Schmitt.
A crowd of evacuees in McLean, Virginia. Image: Claire Schmitt.
After the earthquake, there were concerns that 111 Devonshire St. in Boston appeared to be leaning onto the adjacent 50 Milk St with fears it may possibly collapse. It turned out the buildings have always appeared like this. Image: Patrick Mannion.


What Exactly Is A Yoga Swing?

Submitted by: Christopher Jay

Yoga has become one of the fastest growing exercise industries. Through the system of stretches you can incorporate many tools and props into your routine. One type of prop is a yoga swing. If you are intrigued by yoga and interested in becoming more educated on what yoga, and particularly what a yoga swing, can do for you continue on.

The Yoga Swing

Your basic yoga swing is constructed using an over head pull up bar, six individual handles that are attached to nylon rope and either a cushion or nylon sling. The swing has adjustable heights beginning at your feet level, then mid-level, and an overhead setting.

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Now you can suspend the yoga swing. You can use a sturdy extension spring and hang it from an optional pyramid shaped support structure that can be made from either hardwood or aluminum poles. All of the handles and the pelvic sling can be adjusted for the perfect height. Using a spring with the pyramid support structure allows you great maneuverability. This flexibility gives you the ability to get into any position that you would like.

You can choose a posture or movement that requires you to be completely off the ground, or you can use the sling and rope handles in conjunction with one arm or leg so that you are only partially suspend. It just depends on what position you need to accomplish.

Using a swing is a great addition to your regular yoga routine. It allows you the choice of suspending forward or backwards during an inversion. It will also give you the ability to rotate your trunk or flex while being inverted. These types of stretches will strengthen your muscles, and increase your joint mobility in your spine.

A yoga swing can be a great way to get the most out of your yoga routine but it can also be a great source of recreation for both adults and kids. Whether you are just beginning to learn about yoga, or you are a veteran you should certainly consider adding a swing to your workout routing. It will immediately have a dramatic effect on your workout. It gives you the ability to accentuate all the postures and positions which in turn strengthens your body and dramatically increases your flexibility.

Now is a great time to seriously learn about a yoga swing. There is a tremendous amount of enjoyment to be had by yourself and the whole family. Bring some health into your home today.

About the Author: Christopher Jay has much more information available at

Yoga Health Benefits .com Yoga swings

, supplies and plenty of information are available.. Come and visit us today.


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Hong Kong democracy protesters call for CY Leung resignation as demonstrations continue

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Protestors in Hong Kong have called for the resignation of CY Leung, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, and vowed to continue the protests. If their demands are not met today, the protestors have said they will start occupying government buildings.

Tens of thousands of protestors — some affiliated with the ‘Occupy Central’ movement — have kept up a demonstration for seven days against plans by the Chinese government to screen candidates seeking to be on the ballot for the 2017 election. Lester Shum, the vice secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Students and one of the leaders of the movement, outlined his plans: “Leung Chun-ying must step down. If he doesn’t resign by tomorrow [Thursday], we will step up our actions, such as by occupying several important government buildings”. He said there was “no room for dialogue” with CY Leung after the police fired tear gas at protestors.

Chan Kin-man, another leader in the movement, said: “I hope people will understand why the action keeps on escalating. It’s because the government is getting more and more closed without listening to Hong Kong people.”

United States Secretary of State John Kerry urged the Hong Kong authorities to “exercise restraint and respect for the protesters’ right to express their views peacefully” and said Hong Kong needs to have the “highest possible degree of autonomy”. Kerry stated the US position was support for “universal suffrage in Hong Kong, accordant with the Basic Law”.

David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, said: “What matters is that the basic agreement that we set out with the Chinese all those years ago should be stuck to […] Universal suffrage really means not just being able to vote but having a proper choice.”

A statement on Chinese state television asked residents of Hong Kong to support efforts by the city authorities to “deploy police enforcement decisively” and “restore the social order in Hong Kong as soon as possible”.

Wang Yi, the Chinese Foreign Minister, appearing alongside John Kerry, said the protests were illegal and warned: “Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs. All countries should respect China’s sovereignty. For any country, for any society, no-one will allow those illegal acts that violate public order.”

People’s Daily, a newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, published the following: “Hong Kong has for many years enjoyed peace and harmony. It now sees the emergence of this embarrassing ‘chaos’, and the root cause lies with a few people who are disrespecting the law”.


New fossils from 10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Researchers say that new, ten million-year-old fossils found in Ethiopia, prove that the theory that humans may have evolved from a species of great apes eight million years ago, may not be true, but that humans may have split from apes as long as 10.5 million years ago.

At least nine fossilized teeth, one canine tooth and eight molars, of a previously unknown species of apes found in Africa were discovered by a team of researchers from Ethiopia and Japan who then compared the 3-D make up of the teeth to other fossils that date back as far as 8 million years and found that the fossils are likely a “direct ancestor” of apes currently living in Africa and that the new ape fossils were that of a species of gorilla who ate mostly plants high in fiber.

Current fossils and research say that the evolutionary split from apes to humans occurred at least eight million years ago. The new fossils say that the split may have happened as long as 10.5 million years ago.

“Based on this fossil, that means the split is much earlier than has been anticipated by the molecular evidence. That means everything has to be put back,” said researcher at the Rift Valley Research Service in Ethiopia and a co-author of the study, Berhane Asfaw.

Despite the finds, other researchers are not convinced that the findings are correct.

“It is stretching the evidence to base a time scale for the evolution of the great apes on this new fossil. These structures appear on at least three independent lineages of apes, including gorillas, and they could relate to a dietary shift rather than indicating a new genetic trait,” said a Professor at the London Natural History Museum in the United Kingdom, Peter Andrews who also added, “but the fossil evidence for the evolution of our closest living relatives, the great apes, is almost non-existent.

Researchers have named the newly discovered species Cororapithecus abyssinicus whose remains were found in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, the same place where the remains of Lucy were discovered in 1974.


Interview with Brazilian blogger Ricardo Serran Lobo

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ricardo Serran Lobo is a Brazilian blogger who writes about his famous neighbor, the politician Roberto Jefferson, head of the Brazilian Labor Party in the Brazilian Congress of Deputies. Jefferson has become a major figure in the ongoing Brazilian mensalão scandal revolving around corruption and bribery.

Vizinho do Jefferson [1] quickly became very popular among Brazilians, describing the routine of Jefferson, while providing information about politics and fresh news about the scandal. Lobo’s blog got third place in the Best Of Blogs contest run by Deutsche Welle International.

Lobo gets an intimate look at the center of Brazilian politics by living in Brasilia, near residences of parliamentarians (including Roberto Jefferson), public buildings and the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies. Or, as he says in his blog: “near the eye of the hurricane,” a reference to the recent political crisis.

At first, Lobo began describing the daily activities of his famous neighbor deputy Roberto Jefferson. As the crisis moved on, he began to describe the political events regarding it. His writings evolved to not only what is going on with Jefferson, but what is going on in Brazilian Congress, and has interviewed politicians, including Roberto Jefferson himself.

The blog tries to be informative, with a lot of humour (common with Brazilians), and some protests against the bad habits of Brazilian politics in general.

Jefferson’s neighbor, the blog, is an example of citizen journalism and it shows that ordinary people can compete with professional media.