Showing posts from September 26, 2010

No more legal 'Spice' in Idaho? | Local News | Idaho Statesman

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is expected to approve a temporary "Spice" ban by early next week, at which point it will be illegal to sell the popular synthetic substitute for marijuana in Idaho - at least until the Legislature has a chance to decide whether to make the ban permanent. The Idaho Board of Pharmacy passed a temporary rule Thursday to add Spice - a mixture of herbs sprayed with a synthetic compound similar to the chemical THC found in marijuana - as "schedule one" controlled substance like methamphetamine or cocaine. Spice is sold in dozens of stores in the Treasure Valley. Once the temporary ban is in place, selling Spice would be a felony, said Jan Atkinson, senior compliance officer for the Board of Pharmacy. The Legislature, though, will need to define what the possible punishment would be for possessing or consuming Spice, Atkinson said. The push to ban the substance was led by the Idaho Office of Drug Policy and a coalition of local and state la

Druids recognized as religion for first time in UK - Yahoo! News

LONDON – Druids have been worshipping the sun and earth for thousands of years in Europe, but now they can say they're practicing an officially recognized religion. The ancient pagan tradition best known for gatherings at Stonehenge every summer solstice has been formally classed as a religion under charity law for the first time in Britain, the national charity regulator said Saturday. That means Druids can receive exemptions from taxes on donations — and now have the same status as such mainstream religions as the Church of England. The move gives an old practice new validity, said Phil Ryder, the chairman of the 350-member Druid Network. "It will go a long way to make Druidry a lot more accessible," he said. Druids have practiced for thousands of years in Britain and in Celtic societies elsewhere in Europe. They worship natural forces such as thunder and the sun, and spirits they believe arise from places such as mountains and rivers. They do not worship a

Free speech cases at top of Supreme Court's agenda - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON – First Amendment cases top the Supreme Court's docket as it begins a new term with a new justice and three women on the bench for the first time. The court will look at provocative anti-gay protests at military funerals and a California law banning the sale of violent video games to children. These cases worry free speech advocates , who fear the court could limit First Amendment freedoms. The funeral protest lawsuit, over signs praising American war deaths, "is one of those cases that tests our commitment to the First Amendment," said Steven Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union . Another case involves a different aspect of the First Amendment, the government's relationship to religion. The justices will decide whether Arizona's income tax credit scholarship program, in essence, directs state money to religious schools in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state. Under Chief Justice John Robert

Judge asked to postpone trial for Gulf spill cases - Yahoo! News

NEW ORLEANS – Some of the companies sued over the massive Gulf oil spill are asking a federal judge to postpone until 2012 a trial designed to assign percentages of fault in the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon drilling project. A court filing Friday by Halliburton Energy Services , Cameron International and other companies says they need more time to prepare for a trial on the case's "limitation and liability allocation issues." U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier was asked to delay the trial from October 2011 to February 2012. Barbier didn't immediately rule. Barbier presides over more than 300 consolidated lawsuits spawned by the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, which killed 11 workers and triggered the spill. Rig operator BP PLC and rig owner Transocean Ltd . didn't immediately join in Friday's request. via Posted via email from Peace Jaway

U.S. apologizes to Guatemalans for secret STD experiments | The Upshot Yahoo! News - Yahoo! News

U.S. scientific researchers infected hundreds of Guatemalan mental patients with sexually transmitted diseases from 1946 to 1948 -- a practice that only came recently to light thanks to the work of an academic researcher. On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a formal apology to the Central American nation, and to Guatemalan residents of the United States. "Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health," said Clinton and Sebelius in a joint statement. "We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices." The discovery of the long-ago experiments stems from another, far better known episode of federal tampering with test subjects to study sexually transmitted diseases: the long-running "Tuskegee e

Psychiatric experts assess parental alienation - Yahoo! News

NEW YORK – The American Psychiatric Association has a hot potato on its hands as it updates its catalog of mental disorders — whether to include parental alienation, a disputed term conveying how a child's relationship with one estranged parent can be poisoned by the other. There's broad agreement that this sometimes occurs, usually triggered by a divorce and child-custody dispute. But there's bitter debate over whether the phenomenon should be formally classified as a mental health syndrome — a question now before the psychiatric association as it prepares the first complete revision since 1994 of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. "We're gotten an enormous amount of mail — more than any other issue," said Dr. Darrel Regier, vice chair of the task force drafting the manual. "The passions on both sides of this are exceptional." On one side of the debate, which has raged since the 1980s, are feminists, advocates for b

Study shows progress with stem cell alternative - Yahoo! News

NEW YORK – Scientists reported more progress Thursday with a method of creating stem cells without using embryos. The advance in cell reprogramming by researchers in Boston was praised as a more efficient way of turning skin cells into stem cells, a step toward developing new medical treatments. One expert said the new approach might be the first practical way to make such cells for creating new tissue to treat conditions like diabetes and Parkinson's disease. In 2007, when scientists first reported they had reprogrammed skin cells into stem cells, it was hailed as an alternative to getting stem cells from embryos , which are then destroyed. Since then, researchers have been working on fine-tuning the method. Embryonic stem cells, which have the ability to morph into any type of cell, continue to be controversial. Last month, a U.S. judge cut off federal funding for research with them. (A different court ruled Tuesday that funding could resume while legal arguments procee

South Africa to research mood-lifting plant - Yahoo! News

JOHANNESBURG – For hundreds of years, indigenous South Africans have chewed a plant they say reduces stress, relieves hunger, sedates and elevates moods. Now they have a license to study and market it, and plan to sell it over-the-counter worldwide. Researchers say the plant, called sceletium tortuosum, has great potential and could also help boost the local economy. Still, the American pharmaceutical company working on the project says it doesn't know whether the plant has been approved by U.S. regulators or how soon it may be available to consumers. On Friday, South Africa's environmental minister traveled to the country's arid southwest where the plant is found to celebrate the issuing of the first license of an indigenous plant to the South African company HGH Pharmaceuticals. HGH has not registered the product, which they will market as a dietary supplement, in any country, as the company is still compiling scientific and technical data, said Nigel Gericke, di

Reflective "death ray" torments Vegas sunbathers - Yahoo! News

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – MGM Resorts International is taking the heat for an intense beam of searing desert sunlight, jokingly dubbed the "death ray," that some hotel guests say poses a risk of severe burns to bathers lounging poolside. The beam is actually a concentrated reflection of solar rays bouncing off the gleaming glass facade of the concave-shaped, high-rise Vdara hotel and condominium, which opened on the Las Vegas "strip" in December. Local media, as well as some hotel staff and guests, have come to refer to the reflection as the "death ray," but MGM Resorts officials prefer to call it a "solar convergence phenomenon." "The refraction moves across the pool deck over a period 90 minutes," company spokesman Gordon Absher told Reuters. "It's never in the same place from day to day or week to week because the sun its changing its elevation in the sky." MGM Resorts, which owns the property, has sought

David Frazier: Proposed amendment asks Idaho voters to vote away their right to vote | Reader's Opinion | Idaho Statesman

In response to Lewiston Tribune editorial, which ran in Monday's Statesman: The issue before voters Nov. 2 on three proposed constitutional amendments is not the two-thirds super-majority needed to approve long-term debt. The issue is an attempt by cities to abolish the constitutional rights of citizens to approve - or deny - debt by airports, public hospitals, and publicly owned utilities - regardless of the source of revenues for repayment. Voters are being asked to go to the polls and vote to eliminate their right to vote on these specific issues. Because they don't like the "power of the purse" deliberately provided to Idaho citizens by the founding fathers, proponents seek to simply remove the voice of the people from the equation. It was politicians, not citizens who pushed for passage in the 2010 Legislature. The big issue will be HJR5 and its effect on airports. The measure is written so broadly that it allows cities to incur debt for any structure o

Our View: Higher education is the budget crisis that Idaho fails to notice | Editorial | Idaho Statesman

T he 2010 Legislature cut $48.2 million from Idaho's college and university system. Higher education will get 9.1 percent of this year's general fund budget; 20 years ago, the share was 14.7 percent. This is a crisis - representing a continued dismantling of the college system. But have Idahoans noticed? Or do they even care? According to a recent poll, conducted by the Statesman and six other newspapers, 42 percent of Idahoans believe the state's higher education budget is about right. Another 14 percent believe it is too high. Only 35 percent say the budget is too low. These are startling, sobering responses. Some 56 percent of Idahoans believe the state's systematic disinvestment in higher education is appropriate - or, if anything, it just hasn't gone far enough. No wonder lawmakers can cut higher education with impunity, even if their decision forces the universities to eliminate classes, increase student fees or take other desperate actions that make

Boise opens small-business incubator Downtown | Idaho Economy | Idaho Statesman

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and Boise State University President Bob Kustra cut a green ribbon Monday to open the Greenhouse, 520 W. Idaho St., a business incubator focused on supporting and advancing alternative energy and sustainable businesses. The incubator is a city project in partnership with the Idaho Small Business Development Center at Boise State. The three businesses already there are: • Brown Box Organics, which works with farms and vendors to provide organic and local groceries year-round in the Treasure Valley. The Greenhouse will provide office space supplementing the business's distribution space at the 36th Street Garden Center complex. The company has three full-time and six part-time employees. For more information, go to . • Home Tree, which offers services to make homes and businesses more sustainable. The services include energy audits, LEED-accredited construction and renewable-energy installation. Home Tree has three full-time e

Blogger beware: Postings can lead to lawsuits

Reporting from Washington — The Internet has allowed tens of millions of Americans to be published writers. But it also has led to a surge in lawsuits from those who say they were hurt, defamed or threatened by what they read, according to groups that track media lawsuits. "It was probably inevitable, but we have seen a steady growth in litigation over content on the Internet," said Sandra Baron, executive director of the Media Law Resource Center in New York. Get breaking news alerts delivered to your mobile phone. Text BREAKING to 52669. Although bloggers may have a free-speech right to say what they want online, courts have found that they are not protected from being sued for their comments, even if they are posted anonymously. Some postings have even led to criminal charges. Hal Turner, a right-wing blogger from New Jersey, faces up to 10 years in prison for posting a comment that three Chicago judges "deserve to be killed

Waiting for 'Superman' Review: Are Teachers the Problem? - TIME

Waiting for Superman In an episode of the 1950s TV show Superman , a school bus full of kids is threatened with disaster as it nearly topples over a cliff, when WHOOSH , the Man of Steel flies in and pushes the bus to safety. That was the fantasy that Geoffrey Canada, the South Bronx-bred boy who became a Harvard-trained education entrepreneur, hoped for as a child. All it would take to save school kids was muscle and a miracle. (See photos of the evolution of the college dorm.) But America can't exist on muscle any more. With manufacturing jobs a sliver of what they once were, and field-level farming jobs largely stocked with immigrant labor, the coming generation of middle-class and working-class Americans needs not strong backs but educated minds. The titans and

BBC News - Painless laser device could spot early signs of disease

26 September 2010 Last updated at 20:37 ET Share this page Facebook Share Email Print Painless laser device could spot early signs of disease By Katia Moskvitch Science reporter, BBC News Fibre-optic probes could use lasers to distinguish between cancerous, pre-cancerous and healthy cells Portable devices with painless laser beams could soon replace X-rays as a non-invasive way to diagnose disease. Researchers say that the technique could become widely available in about five years. The method, called Raman spectroscopy, could help spot the early signs of breast cancer, tooth decay and osteoporosis. Scientists believe that the technology would make the diagnosis of illnesses faster, cheaper and more accurate. Raman spectroscopy is the measurement of the intensity and wavelength of scattered light from molecule

State of the Art - Sony A55 Camera Rises to a New Level - Review

When it made up the term “S.L.R.,” the technology terminology industry was not operating at its peak creative powers. An S.L.R. is one of those big, black, professional-style cameras. They do things that make pocket cameras look like pretenders: they can blur the background, take lower-light shots without a flash and shoot with no shutter lag (the delay after you press the shutter button). And thanks to enormous light sensors and lenses, the photos just look fantastic. But ouch — that name. Even if you know what S.L.R. stands for (“single-lens reflex”), you have no idea what it means. “Single lens” is misleading, because the whole point of these cameras is that you can attach dozens of different lenses. And to most people, “reflex” refers only to wincing when they see the price. Kidding aside, historically, there was a point to the term “single-lens reflex” (yes, I use Wikipedia , too). It describes the mirrors and prisms inside that bend the light from the lens to your

News Analysis - Stuxnet Worm Is Remarkable for Its Lack of Subtlety

AS in real warfare, even the most carefully aimed weapon in computer warfare leaves collateral damage. The Stuxnet worm was no different. The most striking aspect of the fast-spreading malicious computer program — which has turned up in industrial programs around the world and which Iran said had appeared in the computers of workers in its nuclear project — may not have been how sophisticated it was, but rather how sloppy its creators were in letting a specifically aimed attack scatter randomly around the globe. The malware was so skillfully designed that computer security specialists who have examined it were almost certain it had been created by a government and is a prime example of clandestine digital warfare. While there have been suspicions of other government uses of computer worms and viruses, Stuxnet is the first to go after industrial systems. But unlike those other attacks, this bit of malware did not stay invisible. If Stuxnet is the latest example

SeqCentral Crunches Genetic Data in the Cloud

As scientists have to process growing amounts of data, hardware with heavy-duty computing becomes one of the most important tools for research. For that reason, a new startup called SeqCentral said it can democratize science by using cloud computing infrastructure. Specifically, SeqCentral said it offers online infrastructure for genetic sequencing — not for the sequencing itself, but for the “alignment” of genetic sequences. That’s an important step in the research process where scientists identify similar regions of DNA sequences. Co-founder Jeremy Archuleta said the real differentiator is pricing. SeqCentral will charge $99 per year, which will “democratize” the field by making powerful computing available to any scientist. It also means that scientists can focus on their actual research, rather than trying to find the computer for that research. “You can focus on your science, and not computer science,” Archuleta said. SeqCentral launched at the TechCrunch Disrup

Thousands may owe NC for unemployment overpayments - Yahoo! News

RALEIGH, N.C. – A North Carolina agency says thousands of long-term unemployed people could owe the state money because the agency mistakenly overpaid them. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Tuesday that the Employment Security Commission made about $28 million in overpayments to jobless North Carolinians over the last two years. The agency last week began sending letters to about 38,000 people who it says were either overpaid or underpaid through no fault of their own. The agency estimates about 15 percent of recipients were underpaid and will be eligible for additional benefits. Overpayments could be forgiven if people apply for a waiver, but the commission wasn't able to say how those requests would be evaluated. ___ Information from: The News & Observer, via Posted via email from Peace Jaway