Sunday, June 29, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oceans Warming Faster Then Realized

June 18, 2008 -- The world's oceans have warmed 50 percent faster over the last 40 years than previously thought due to climate change, Australian and U.S. climate researchers reported Wednesday.

Higher ocean temperatures expand the volume of water, contributing to a rise in sea levels that is submerging small island nations and threatening to wreak havoc in low-lying, densely-populated delta regions around the globe.

The study, published in the British journal Nature, adds to a growing scientific chorus of warnings about the pace and consequences rising oceans.

It also serves as a corrective to a massive report issued last year by the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), according to the authors.

Rising sea levels are driven by two things: the thermal expansion of sea water, and additional water from melting sources of ice. Both processes are caused by global warming.

The ice sheet that sits atop Greenland, for example, contains enough water to raise world ocean levels by seven meters (23 feet), which would bury sea-level cities from Dhaka to Shanghai.

Trying to figure out how much each of these factors contributes to rising sea levels is critically important to understanding climate change, and forecasting future temperature rises, scientists say.

But up to now, there has been a perplexing gap between the projections of computer-based climate models, and the observations of scientists gathering data from the oceans.

"The numbers didn't add up," said Peter Geckler, a co-author of the study and a researcher at the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California.

"When previous investigators tried to add up all the estimated contributions to sea level rise" -- thermal expansion, melting glaciers, ice caps and ice sheets, along with changes in terrestrial storage -- "they did not match with the independently estimated total sea level rise," he said.

The new study, led by Catia Domingues of the Center for Australian Weather and Climate Research, is the first to reconcile the models with observed data.

Using new techniques to assess ocean temperatures to a depth of 700 meters (2,300 feet) from 1961 to 2003, it shows that thermal warming contributed to a 0.53 millimeter-per-year rise in sea levels rather than the 0.32 mm rise reported by the IPCC.

"Our results are important for the climate modelling community because they boost confidence in the climate models used for projections of global sea-level rise resulting for the accumulation of heat in the oceans," Domingues said in a statement.

"The projections will in turn assist in planning to minimize impacts, and in developing adaptation strategies," she added.

The IPCC report was criticized for including only the impact of thermal expansion in its projections of sea level rises over the next century, despite recent studies showing that melting ice is a significant -- and growing -- factor.

The planet's oceans store more than 90 percent of the heat in the Earth's climate system and act as a temporary buffer against the effects of climate change.

Jack Nicholson Ad For Hilliary Clinton

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Blacks savor Obama win, fear disappointment

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Black Americans savored Barack Obama's unprecedented victory in the Democratic race for U.S. president, but said on Wednesday the higher stakes raised the prospect of deep disappointment in November.

The knowledge that Obama will be the first black American to lead a major party in a U.S. presidential election as he faces Republican John McCain in November provoked a flood of reflection from black voters at Atlanta's "K&K Soul Food" restaurant.

"It's great. We finally have a 'brother' nominated to be president. It's the best thing I've ever seen," said Alan Stephens, 46, who had parked the truck he uses for his welding business directly outside the big side window.

"But it will be even better when he is president," he said, adding that Obama's victory should be put in the context of other milestones in African American history, a popular view among a U.S. minority with a keen sense that discrimination and the struggle to overcome it has defined its identity.

In winning the nomination, Obama has left many African Americans elated but at the same time fearful that their own preoccupations might derail the candidate in a general election, said William Jelani Cobb, author of books about contemporary black culture.

"Black Americans are treading on thin ice, moving very delicately. This (Obama's) opportunity is frail and fragile (and many say) let's make sure that nothing happens to ruin it," said Cobb, a professor of history at Atlanta's Spelman College.

Obama is set to deliver his nomination speech to the party convention in Denver on August 28, 45 years to the day after civil rights leader Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington.

Civil rights ended legalized racial segregation in the U.S. South by building a coalition of blacks and whites and Obama's achievement was also that he built a multi-ethnic coalition, Cobb said.

"He has smashed the old simplistic model of being closely aligned with black folk or popular with white folk," he said.

Politicians such as David Dinkins, who became New York's first black mayor in 1990 and Douglas Wilder, who became the first black governor of a U.S. state when he won in Virginia in 1990, did that, but no black politician had previously pulled off the feat on a national scale, Cobb said.

At the same time, Obama would likely help to usher out a generation of black politicians including civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, for whom the redress of discrimination was an over-riding concern.


It was business as usual at the restaurant in a working-class neighborhood in southwest Atlanta.

As on any other day, the mostly black clientele lined up with brown trays to select from a menu that included oxtail, fried fish, collard greens and iced tea, paid the cashier in her glass booth and sat down to eat using plastic knives and forks.

Some customers said Obama's win was evidence of wider changes that included a softening of barriers between blacks and whites and a broader acceptance that many groups compete in U.S. society.

"It's a victory for multiculturalism," said Vedia Jackson, 36, a telecommunications project manager who had driven across town to eat at the restaurant. "This country has changed quite a lot color-wise and it's time for people of color to be in influential situations."

"I am not looking at him (Obama) in terms of color. Maybe my parents would have done that. I am looking at him as the best candidate," she said between mouthfuls of fried fish.

Jackson said she traveled to eat at "K&K" because the restaurant seasoned its food in a way that reminded her of how food was cooked when she was growing up in Mississippi.

Jackson's dining companion Wayne McKenzie, 41, rejected any notion that race was a prime reason for Obama's triumph.

"The fact that he is African American is secondary. He's the best candidate whether he's green, pink or yellow," he said.

Sex, Drugs, and Drinking for Teens in Chicago

Attention Chicago parents: The majority of teenagers in the city (56.9 percent) have already had sexual intercourse and 4 out of 10 are currently sexually active.

At least they’re taking precautions: Almost three-quarters of adolescent boys are using condoms and more than 1 in 10 girls is on the birth control pill.

Chicago boys are certainly starting sex early. A surprising 18.7 percent report having intercourse for the first time before age 13, compared with 5.8 percent of girls.

They’re also playing the field. More than one-quarter of teenage boys in the city report having four or more sexual partners by the end of high school, compared with 10.7 percent of girls.

The data come from the newest version of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a comprehensive assessment of teenagers in 9th to 12th grade compiled every two years by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report, incorporating data from 2007, was released this morning.

It contains good news as well as bad. Since the first survey in 1991, more teens are using seat belts, fewer are smoking and drinking alcohol, and fewer are smoking marijuana or having sex. Those are very positive developments.

But the decline in percentage of teens having sex has stalled over the last seven years, as has the number of teens using condoms. With the rise of abstinence-only education, fewer teens are learning about AIDS or HIV infections in school. And more are obese.

One of the most worrisome trends is the alarming degree of sadness and despair among Hispanic youth. Nationally, an astonishing 42.3 percent of Hispanic girls reported feeling “sad or hopeless” as did 30.4 percent of Hispanic boys, exceeding figures for black and white teens.

Twenty-one percent of Hispanic girls said they had “seriously considered attempting suicide” and 14 percent actually attempted suicide – again, the highest of any ethnic group. By contrast, 10.7 percent of Hispanic boys said they’d thought seriously about killing themselves and 6.3 percent actually tried.

“This is a very scary and a very, very serious problem,” said Aida Giachello, director of the Midwest Latino Health Research, Training, and Policy Center in Chicago.

Many factors may be hitting Hispanic girls hard, including poverty, low self-esteem, pressure to join gangs, parents who work multiple jobs and are often absent from the home, and conflict between traditional Hispanic family values and the norms present in the broader American society, she suggested.

Being caught between two cultures can foster tremendous tension and be a “tremendous burden” for Hispanic youth, said Glenn Flores, professor of pediatrics and public health at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

For Chicagoans, other findings of note in the CDC report include:

* For all the talk about drinking and driving, 31.5 percent of teen girls and 26.9 percent of teen boys in Chicago report riding in a car or another vehicle with a driver who’d been consuming alcohol.

* Chicago teens are drinking alcohol: 38.9 percent currently and 71.4 percent at some point in high school.

* They’re also smoking pot. Almost 22 percent of Chicago kids say they’re current users and 44 percent have tried marijuana since entering high school.

* More than 1 in every 10 Chicago teens (11.3 percent) report being forced to have sexual intercourse. The figure was exactly the same for boys and girls.

* Overall, 30 percent of Chicago teens say they feel sad or hopeless, above the national average. Just over 10 percent try to commit suicide, but only a fraction of these cases end up being treated by a doctor or a nurse.

* Your kids are couch potatoes. A whopping 45.2 percent of Chicago teens say they watch TV for three or more hours every day; 21.6 percent say they spend three or more hours on the computer.

Patriots Player an Informant

BOSTON (AP) — A starting lineman for the New England Patriots worked as an informant for federal drug agents after he was arrested in New York on a charge of carrying the powerful painkiller oxycodone without a prescription, an attorney said.

Nicholas Kaczur, 28, wore a wire to help agents build a case against his alleged supplier, Daniel Ekasala, according to Ekasala's attorney.

A Drug Enforcement Administration agent said in an affadavit that a cooperating witness — whose name was not revealed in the document — wore a recording device during three drug buys last month. In each of the deals, the witness bought 100 OxyContin pills from Ekasala for $3,900 in cash, the agent wrote.

Ekasala's lawyer, Bernard Grossberg, said Kaczur was that cooperating witness.

Kaczur denied to The Boston Globe that he participated in the investigation, telling the newspaper, "I don't know what you're talking about, bro."

Kaczur has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment Wednesday. His agent, Vance Malinovic, did not return messages left by The Associated Press.

Stacey James, a spokesman for the Patriots, would not comment on Kaczur. He referred questions to the U.S. attorney's office, which declined to comment.

Kaczur, 6 feet 4 and 315 pounds, started 15 games last year at right tackle, protecting star quarterback Tom Brady during the Patriots' undefeated regular season. Originally from Brantford, Ontario, Kazcur was drafted by the Patriots in 2005 and has started 35 games over three seasons.

Kaczur missed the team's final regular season game on Dec. 29 with a foot injury. He also was out for several games early in the 2006 season because of a shoulder injury.

Ekasala, 34, was indicted Tuesday and remains free on an unsecured bond of $10,000. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to three counts of possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute.

Ekasala was arrested May 13 after meeting the witness in a supermarket parking lot in Sharon and selling him 100 pills, according to the DEA affidavit.

Kaczur told the DEA he began buying OxyContin in November, getting 100 pills every few days, Grossberg said. The lawyer said he believes Kaczur inflated the quantity he bought to "increase his importance or usability to the DEA."

Ekasala, an unemployed construction worker and father of 2-year-old twins from Saugus, was sympathetic to Kaczur and somewhat in awe of him because of his status as a Patriots player, Grossberg said.

"As anybody who meets a professional athlete ... I think he became somewhat enamored by his contact with him, and was enticed to do certain things," Grossberg said.

Kaczur, who lives in Attleboro, was pulled over by state police in Whitestown, N.Y., on April 27, for driving 76 mph in a 65 mph zone. He was charged with a misdemeanor count of criminal possession of a controlled substance, said Sgt. Kern Swoboda, a spokesman for the state police.

Kaczur was issued a summons to appear in court on May 12, but Swoboda did not know the current status of his case. A judge in the Whitestown Town Court in Whitesboro, N.Y., said details would not be available until the court is in session on Monday.

The NFL does not test for oxycodone but does prohibit the misuse of prescription drugs.

SportingNews Ranks Stars for Finals Series

Please, let me explain. Geez, you don't have to get so mad about it. Give me a break, will ya? Look, I'm only trying to do my job. Why can't we all just get along?

Sorry. Just warming up.

Since the Lakers franchise relocated to Los Angeles in 1960, the Lakers have met the Celtics in the NBA's championship series 10 times, including this year's yet-to-brew brouhaha. The formerly svelte and dashing Andy Garcia only looks like he's been an eyewitness to all 10 Finals.

Anyway, there has been a two-ton truckload of amazing players to take part in the Lakers-Celtics rivalry --- such as Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Sam Jones and James Worthy, just to name four.

Four who -- I am preparing to duck -- don't make The List's top 10 stars in Lakers-Celtics Finals history because either their appearances came in the twilight of their careers or they just weren't quite, um, great enough to make the cut.

So beat me down if you must. But for now, on with The List:

1. Magic Johnson, Lakers. He didn't have as many wins in this series as the Celtics greats of the 1960s, but his remains the biggest combination of skill (pure matchup hell), leadership (from the moment he was drafted) and enthusiasm (the No. 1 reason the league surged in popularity) in the history of the game. And for all the Magic-vs.-Bird debate, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind --- that's mind, not heart --- who was the better player.

2. Bill Russell, Celtics. There can't be a more unselfish superstar in the annals of pro sports. Russell's defense alone would put him on this list. Everything else -- the rebounding, the outlet passing, the running of the floor -- puts him almost at the top.

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lakers. The Big Goggle was the MVP of the 1985 Finals -- L.A.'s first title-series defeat of Boston. Even though he was far into his career during the rivalry's 1980s heyday, Kareem still was unguardable in the post.

4. Jerry West, Lakers. West -- not Bird, not Bryant, not Baylor -- is the most gifted scorer in the history of this rivalry. Because of his size and shooting range, he was open any time he had the ball. Had Baylor not been slightly compromised by injuries and Chamberlain showed up bigger when he had the chance, West would have been the great champion he deserved to be.

5. Larry Bird, Celtics. Forever underappreciated for his rebounding and passing, Bird is deservedly remembered as one of the most clutch and fearless shooters -- and one of the most confident and driven players -- ever. He was a player who could do it all on a team of selfless winners who were extraordinarily versatile. But he only beat L.A. once, in 1984.

6. Kobe Bryant, Lakers. Whoa! Well, where do you want me to put Kobe on this list? He simply has to be on there because he's the best player in the league. How many others on this list ever were -- without debate -- the best player in the league?

7. John Havlicek, Celtics. Show of hands: How many of you knew Hondo is the leading scorer in Celtics history? His energy off the bench turned the tide of so many Finals games as the C's broke the Lakers' backs throughout the 1960s.

8. Elgin Baylor, Lakers. He was ahead of his time as an acrobatic scorer but in a beautifully old-school way, with hanging jump shots, feathery finishes with both hands and bank shots galore. Baylor also was an awesome rebounder for his size.

9. Kevin McHale, Celtics. Has there ever been a surer set of hands or a better portfolio of post moves? McHale also was a tough guy -- he was skinny, but he was an enforcer in his own way and it always fired up his teammates.

10. Kevin Garnett, Celtics. What a difficult pick for the last spot on the list. KG lovers will say he's getting the short end again, but who should drop so Garnett can rise? Nevertheless, Garnett -- the ultimate self-starter -- would have fit like a glove on the Celtics teams of any era.

Clinton To Drop Out

Orginal Article Here.

Sen. Hillary Clinton will hold an event with supporters by Friday, likely ending her historic bid for the White House and ceding the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, ABC News has learned.

Clinton's decision to leave the race ends a long, often bitter battle for the right to challenge Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the general election.

Obama, D-Ill., who claimed victory after clinching the necessary delegates on Tuesday, will be the nation's first African American running with the nomination of one of the country's two major political parties.

Clinton's Bid for History Falls Short

Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and two-term senator from New York, entered the race over a year ago with the words, "I'm in it to win it."

Clinton quickly emerged as the formidable frontrunner, raising millions of dollars and leading in both state and national polls.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted in December 2006, she was supported by 39 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, well ahead of her nearest competitors -- Barack Obama with 17 percent support; former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., with 12 percent; and former Vice President Al Gore, 10 percent.

Obama had announced his intention to form a presidential exploratory committee a few days before Clinton's announcement on her Web site,

Governor Says California In Drought

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - After two years of below-average rainfall in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought on Wednesday.

The proclamation in an executive order allows water officials to more rapidly shift water around California, one of the nation's top farm states that also has wilderness areas prone to wildfires.

Many California water districts have already imposed restrictions on water use amid dry weather and after a U.S. court aiming to protect a fish species forced the state to pump less water from its San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta, the state's fresh-water hub.

"For the areas in Northern California that supply most of our water, this March, April and May have been the driest ever in our recorded history," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

"As a result, some local governments are rationing water, developments can't proceed and agricultural fields are sitting idle," he said.

"We must recognize the severity of the crisis we face, so I am signing an executive order proclaiming a statewide drought and directing my Department of Water Resources and other entities to take immediate action to address the situation."

That will include efforts to reduce water use locally and regionally for the rest of this year in anticipation of lower water supplies next year, Schwarzenegger's statement added.

California's water situation underscores the need for expanding the state's water infrastructure, specifically public works to capture excess water in wet years to store for dry years, Schwarzenegger said, alluding to his call for lawmakers to agree to a multibillion bond measure for new water works.

"This drought is an urgent reminder of the immediate need to upgrade California's water infrastructure," he said. "There is no more time to waste because nothing is more vital to protect our economy, our environment and our quality-of-life. We must work together to ensure that California will have safe, reliable and clean water not only today but 20, 30 and 40 years from now."

Schwarzenegger is urging an $11.9 billion water bond. Lawmakers are negotiating plans for $9.5 billion to $12 billion in debt to build new water infrastructure, but Democrats who control the legislature and its Republican minority are at odds over the need for new dams.

In an interview last month with Reuters, new state Senate Republican Leader Dave Cogdill said he believed the two sides would make progress on a water bond bill and one could be put to voters as a measure on the November ballot.

Mooning Becomes Dangerous

UTRECHT, Netherlands (AP) — Utrecht police say a 21-year-old Dutch man is recovering after a "mooning" that went horribly wrong.

A police statement says the man and two others had run down a street in Utrecht with their pants pulled down in the back "for a joke."

It says that at one point the 21-year-old "pushed his behind against the window of a restaurant" that broke and resulted in "deep wounds to his derriere."

The statement released Tuesday says police detained the three men after the incident Sunday morning. But the cafe owner decided not to press charges after the men agreed to pay for the broken window.

The injured man was treated for his injuries at a nearby hospital.

Tumor turns out to be 25 year old towel

DOCTORS in Japan who carried out surgery on a man to remove a tumour had good news and bad news for him.

The good news was he did not have cancer.

The bad news: The growth that had been causing him pain was in fact a 25-year-old surgical towel.

The patient had been carrying the cloth since 1983, when surgeons left it in him after a minor operation to treat an ulcer, a spokesman for the hospital said.

The man, now 49, went in to another hospital in late May after suffering abdominal pain.

When examinations found what was believed to be an eight-centimetre tumour, he underwent the operation to remove it. It was only then that surgeons realised it was a towel.

"The towel was greenish blue although we are not sure about its original colour," the Asahi General Hospital spokesman said, adding it had been crumpled to the size of a softball.

Asahi hospital officials visited the man and apologised, he said.

The former patient has no plans to sue the hospital, which is in talks with him over compensation or other measures, the official said.

Japanese media reports said the man, who was not identified, still had his spleen removed.

New Club Drug: Preparation H?

The hottest club drug appears to be one normally used to fix a "burning" problem.

Preparation H, the topical medication used to treat hemorrhoids, reportedly is catching fire as the latest "drug" to hit the New York City club scene.

The topical solution contains a medication called phenylephrine HCL, which shrinks the swollen tissues of hemorrhoids. It works by constricting the nearby blood vessels that surround the area. But the ingredient will shrink other tissue as well.

The method has been hailed on the Internet and has long been used by body builders in need of a quick fix for a problem area prior to competition, as well as women looking to reduce puffiness around their eyes.

But one doctor said the off-label usage of the drug is ludicrous.

"It doesn't even work that well for hemorrhoids," said Dr. Marc Siegel, a FOX News medical contributor. "I find in my practice it has to be combined with hydrocortisone. The notion of phenylephrine is problematic at best. It's a placebo effect."

Siegel told that the drug can cause uncomfortable side effects such as rashes, as well as more serious side effects such as elevated blood pressure.

New York bouncer, blogger and author Rob Fitzgerald told that men are slathering up their torsos with the hemorrhoid cream to make themselves look "ripped."

Fitzgerald, who writes the blog Clublife, recently conducted his own research on the phenomenon, interviewing a user, a drugstore worker and a nightclub manager.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Vince McMahon To Give Away $1 Million Per Episode To Lucky Viewer

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Wrestling fans eager to get their hands on Vince McMahon’s money will have to jump through a few hoops first.

The World Wrestling Entertainment chairman announced during last week’s “Monday Night Raw” that he would give away $1 million of his own wealth to viewers, but he didn’t specify when or how it would be distributed.

The cash will be given away as part of a lengthy promotional sweepstakes, McMahon and the WWE told The Associated Press.

For a chance to win $1 million each week for the foreseeable future, viewers must pre-register on and then watch the beginning of “Raw” each week to receive a special code, which viewers must tell McMahon if he calls them during the live broadcast.

The code will change each week of the promotion and will not be revealed until the beginning of each episode.

“People can view this as my own version of an economic stimulus plan to benefit our viewers,” McMahon told the AP.

While the USA Network series continues to be one of the most watched shows on cable TV, its ratings have recently declined. Last Monday’s episode received the lowest ratings for a Memorial Day broadcast in five years, according to Nielsen Media Research.

McMahon said his goal with the giveaway, which begins June 9, is to reward loyal “Raw” fans and draw new and former viewers back to the show.

USA is owned by General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal.