Archive for July, 2008

Exercise in a pill?

Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:08pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Researchers who genetically engineered “marathon mice” that could run for hours have found two pills that can mimic the effects — and they have already developed a test for the drugs in case athletes try to cheat with them.

The drugs reproduce many of the biological benefits of exercise, helping cells burn fat better and boosting endurance, said Ronald Evans, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California.

One of the pills may some day help people enhance their exercise or training, while the other might be more suited for couch potatoes who need to kick-start themselves, Evans and colleagues reported on Thursday in the journal Cell.

“If you like exercise, you like the idea of getting more bang for your buck,” Evans said in a statement. “If you don’t like exercise, you love the idea of getting the benefits from a pill.”

Read the full story…

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Exxon’s Record Profit

There’s something wrong with this.

AP is reporting: “Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation.”

Dog Adopts 3 Abandoned Tiger Cubs at Kansas Zoo

Thursday, July 31, 2008 AP

CANEY, Kan. —  A dog at a southeast Kansas zoo has adopted three tiger cubs abandoned by their mother.

Safari Zoological Park owner Tom Harvey said the tiger cubs were born Sunday, but the mother had problems with them.

A day later, the mother stopped caring for them. Harvey said the cubs were wandering around, trying to find their birth mother, who wouldn’t pay attention to them. That’s when the cubs were put in the care of a golden retriever, Harvey said.

Harvey said it’s unusual for dogs to care for tiger cubs, but it does happen. He said he has seen reports of pigs nursing cubs in China, and he actually got the golden retriever after

his wife saw television accounts of dogs caring for tiger cubs.

Puppies take about the same amount of time as tiger cubs to develop, and Harvey said the adoptive mother just recently weaned her own puppies.

“The timing couldn’t have been any better,” he said.

The mother doesn’t know the difference, Harvey said. He said the adopted mother licks, cleans and feeds the cubs.

Starbucks reports first loss in 16 years

Starbucks, the global coffee giant, has announced its first loss since 1992 after the cost of closing 600 store closures pushed it $6.7 million into the red during the third quarter.

The company fell into a loss compared to a profit of $158.3 million in the third quarter last year while total revenue rose a slower-than-expected 9 percent to $2.6 billion as US business continued to deteriorate.

International sales rose by 24 per cent to $535.6 million as the company expanded outside the US.

The world’s largest coffee shop chain also forecast that its profits this year would be in the “mid-70-cent range” per share, excluding restructuring costs, because of “declining economic conditions”.

Starbucks had initially predicted that full-year profit would come in “somewhat below” the 87 cents a share it reported for 2007.

After years of rapid expansion, Starbucks is beginning to slow down. This month it has announced the closure of 600 outlets in big US cities, six times as many as previously planned, and said it will cut three quarters of its 84 stores in Australia.

Italy ratifies EU Lisbon Treaty

Italy’s parliament has ratified the EU Lisbon Treaty, which was rejected by Irish voters in June.

Italy has become the 23rd out of 27 EU member states to approve the reform treaty, which is aimed at improving decision-making in the enlarged EU.

The treaty has to be ratified by all 27 in order to take effect – and the Irish No vote has left its future uncertain.

Italy’s lower house approved the treaty unanimously on Thursday. The Senate (upper house) approved it on 23 July.

The treaty was originally meant to be in place in January 2009 – well ahead of the European Parliament elections in June 2009.

The Irish Republic was the only EU member state to hold a referendum on the treaty. The other countries that have not yet ratified it are the Czech Republic, Poland and Sweden.

Critics see the treaty as further evidence of a federalist, pro-integration agenda at work in the EU.

The Irish government says it is analysing the reasons for the Irish No vote and will present its ideas at an EU summit in October.

7.31.08

So yesterday, I take Sari Beri to the doctor for her annual sports physical. Remember, I said “annual”.

It’s always very frustrating for me the amount of paperwork they require you to complete at each visit. I’ve even had visits less than 3 months apart and they still require you to complete all of this repetitive, unless, unnecessary paperwork. It really bugs me! Can you tell? Fortunately, they’ve always caught me on a “good” day and I haven’t complained too much — just a little 🙂 However, should they ever catch me on a “bad” day– WATCH OUT! It’s NOT going to be pretty! Just for an example of the stupidity of all of this paperwork, they ask you what the child’s mother’s and father’s names are and their social security numbers… Now, all of that has been the same for 17 years now– and it’s NOT going to change! I’ve probably had to write that on forms at least two dozen times in the last 17 years. WHAT A WASTE OF TIME! Ok, enough ranting about that…

So we get back into the examination room [keep in mind I said this was an annual appointment] and they tell me Sari needs five injections! FIVE! We were just here last year and all of a sudden they want to give her five injections in one visit?!? Now I know she’s going to FREAK [she’s out of the room when the nurse tells me that]. I can’t imagine giving a kid five injections at once. Of course, to the nurse it’s no big deal, she gives injections all day long. But, I know to Sari even one is going to be a REALLY BIG DEAL! I’ve seen her pass out after just one– TWICE! So, I’m contemplating the situation. I’m wishing her dad had brought her. I’m thinking, “Can I please go home now?” I’m sure Sari is going to be thinking the same. The nurse tells me that one of the injections is Hep A and we’ve got to come back in six months and get the other half of that. So, I say well… since we’ve got to come back in six months, let’s just get two injections today and we’ll get the others when we come back in six months. Maybe the Lord will come before then– we can only hope! I mean it’s really crazy anyhow… one of the injections is technis and she just had a technis vaccine three years ago. If I unserstand correctly, you are suppose to get a technis booster every 10 years but now they’ve combined it with pertussis [whooping cough] so it’s new and different and since the one she had three years ago didn’t contain the pertussis she has to have another one now… Sounds suspicious to me. I don’t know what’s up with that.

So anywho… that’s what we did. We got two yesterday and we’ll go back in six months and get the others. I think I’ll let her dad take her 😮

Is Lisbon Treaty Really Dead?

Ganley tells Sarkozy that the Lisbon Treaty is dead

by Libertas, Monday, 21 July 2008

Chairman of Libertas, Declan Ganley, at a private group meeting with President of France and European Council Nicholas Sarkozy said that the Treaty of Lisbon is dead.

“During the meeting, President Sarkozy himself twice admitted that his own people would vote no to the Lisbon Treaty, as they have already rejected a very similar text in the guise of the failed EU Constitution. For President Sarkozy to come here and assemble a meeting of the successful no side and defeated yes side to discuss the treaty seems to suggest the people voted yes, this is a complete disregard for democracy. Last month the people of Ireland voted no, and their vote must be respected.

President Sarkozy listened to what everyone had to say – however whilst he says he respects the Irish vote – further assurances are needed that this is the case.

During the discussion, President Sarkozy acknowledged that the European elections may become the focus of a debate about the future of Europe and the Lisbon Treaty. The people of all the other 26 European member states are entitled to their say on this text.

President Sarkozy did respond to my comments by saying he had an idea and he then went on to say that he would like to come back to Ireland for a longer visit, or meet with some of the parties in Paris, I don’t know whether or not this will be followed up.

If Europe is to have a new treaty/Constitution, it should be short and understandable, the aim should be 20 or 25 pages, it should be upfront and honest about what it seeks to achieve and that all Europe’s citizens must all get a vote on it.

We need a strong, respected and credible Europe and the only way to achieve that is by ensuring that if we confer more power on Brussels, those exercising that power need to be accountable at a ballot box and present themselves before the electorate to seek a mandate, just as he did when he was elected President of France.

The most worrying thing about this meeting is the fact that clearly the message is not being heard, perhaps not even being heard at all, and that’s what makes the meeting somewhat pointless. We have said no. Libertas is still unsure if that democratic vote will be respected by the elites in Brussels, or Paris.

The future of Europe needs to be based on the principles of democracy for all its citizens, and in the only referendum on this treaty, the people asked said no. Brussels needs to take account of this, listen to the people of Ireland and all of Europe, and ensure that what happens next fully respects the principles of democracy that we Irish fought so hard for.

I look forward to a future exchange with President Sarkozy on this issue.


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