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This is a great story by Karen Heller about the Franklin (Institute) in Philadelphia.

I love learning and I watch the Science Channel all the time. As a kid I remember enjoying museums – The Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, the Kohl Children’s Museum (I grew up near Chicago) –  where I could learn stuff, and play at the same time. I’m disappointed after reading this article about the Franklin (it sounds really weird to me to call it that).

Karen Heller: The dumbing down of science

By Karen Heller
Inquirer Columnist
www.philly.com 

Earlier this year, one of Philadelphia’s illustrious cultural institutions underwent cosmetic surgery and had its name reduced.
Our largest science institution simply became the Franklin, as if it were some glistening condo development or waterfront casino.

Which is fitting, given all the sizzle, pyrotechnics and cost. Adult admission has soared to $23.25 if you want to see the current exhibits “Real Pirates” and “Chronicles of Narnia,” the latter – correct me if I’m wrong – based on a fictional world and $1 billion global movie franchise.

“Adults” happens to mean anyone over 11, a rather severe view for an organization geared toward students. Imax? That’s $5.50 extra. Audio tour? Yo ho ho, and an additional $6. For that kind of money, I left my two adults, 12 and 14, at home.

New York’s American Museum of Natural History, a superior museum, offers $17 student tickets for ages 13 through 17 that include general admission and its more substantive featured exhibit, “The Horse.” Why does the Franklin choose to financially penalize children for aging?

Pirate booty

“Pirates” is the latest in the Franklin’s succession of tantalizing blockbusters, following “Body Worlds,” and shows on the Titanic, Star Wars, and King Tut, the equivalent of a casino floor show, there to draw in folks who might find science sort of yucky.

This show makes painful attempts at diversity. Kids, Indians, former slaves, boys and even women were once pirates, too. See? Any one could grow up to be a criminal!

“Pirates” offers instructive points on torture, amputation and hooch. Did you know that “pirates drank anything they could get their hands on?” You can acquire alcoholic alchemy: grog = rum + water. The show even offers Smell-O-Vision, a wood scent permeating the tavern display. It’s a blessing no one opted for eau de scurvy.

What “Pirates” doesn’t teach is science; instead it dumbs down learning to a theme-park level. The show ends, as these things always do, at a gift shop featuring a dazzling array of overpriced junk – swords, a stuffed “pirate pup,” and skull-and-crossbones sunglasses.

Pieces of eight

The afternoon I attended, the Franklin was swarming with tourist families and urban day-campers. This seemed a smart arrangement: Full-paying tourists subsidizing underserved city youth.

The rub was that neither group appeared well-served by science. “Sports Challenge” is more Dave and Buster’s than lessons in physiology, a homage to hyperactivity where kids run around without ever stopping to learn.

“Sir Isaac’s Loft” contains one of those George Rhoads kinetic sculptures found in airports. “Sometimes you just can’t avoid science,” the caption reads, almost as an apology. “My intention is not to exemplify scientific principles,” Rhoads states on the plaque. Oh, great.

Frequently, the Franklin seems as scared of learning as it does of science. Lopping off the “Institute” is an indication. What I watched was kids dashing madly, going from one pit stop to the other, without absorbing much. There was so much insistent fun (!) and no, this-isn’t-really-science stuff that the place is transformed into just another consumer palace.

The one science at which the Franklin excels is the dismal one of economics. Inside these hallowed walls, pretzels miraculously soar from 50 cents to $2.75. Bottled water, scientifically equal to the free fountain variety, is $2.75. Though prices rival those at the ballpark, there’s no dollar-dog day. Hot dogs are always $3.75.

Start your engines, adults 12 and older. This Wednesday is “Race Car Day,” when that great organization of higher learning, NASCAR, teams up with the Franklin for a full day of science and fumes.

That last line made me laugh :)

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Cat grows wings

chinese cat grows wings

Some crazy woman in China is claiming that her cat grew wings.

um…

Granny Feng’s tom cat has sprouted two hairy 4ins long wings, reports the Huashang News.

“At first, they were just two bumps, but they started to grow quickly, and after a month there were two wings,” she said.

Feng, of Xianyang city, Shaanxi province, says the wings, which contain bones, make her pet look like a ‘cat angel’.

Her explanation is that the cat sprouted the wings after being sexually harassed.

“A month ago, many female cats in heat came to harass him, and then the wings started to grow,” she said.

However, experts say the phenomenon is more likely down to a gene mutation, and say it shouldn’t prevent the cat living a normal life.

Mindy Kaling Kelly Kapor

Writer and executive producer Mindy Kaling, Kelly Kapor) will preside over The Office Games at the Mall at Steamtown in Scranton on July 19!

The event will kick off at 9 a.m. ET with a 2K Fun Run, to be followed by an Office trivia challenge, a Dwight-inspired beet-eating contest and an autograph session for the first 125 fans who purchase one of the two new games (The Office Trivia Game and DVD Board Game).

Part of The Office Games proceeds will go toward United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, which provides community-building opportunities and services throughout northeastern Pennsylvania.

Story here.

 

(Jeff Fusco/Getty Images for the Boston Globe)

RALEIGH — Thanks to some text message-savvy grandchildren, North Carolina drivers whose license plates have the potentially offensive “WTF” letter combination can replace the tags for free.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Tuesday the state Division of Motor Vehicles has notified nearly 10,000 holders of license plates with the letter combination.

WTF license plate

Officials learned last year the common acronym stands for a vulgar phrase in e-mail and cell phone text messages.

The DMV recently realized the same letters appeared on the sample license plate on its own Web site. Officials are trying to remove the plate from the site.

DMV officials got word of the plates last July when a 60-year-old technology teacher from Fayetteville complained about the plate after her teenage grandchildren clued her in.

DMV officials said they try to keep up with the latest acronyms, and that anyone who has an issue with their plate can contact their local DMV office to request a new one.

story from www.wxii12.com

haha.

Alkaline Trio Heart and Sole Air Zoom Cush Nike 6.0
From Alkaline Trio’s MySpace blog

NIKE 6.0 AND ALKALINE TRIO SHOE COLLABORATION

Beaverton OR. (June 9th, 2008)- Nike 6.0 and punk stalwarts, Alkaline Trio, joined forces to translate the energy of action sports and punk rock into a pair of collaborative kicks. The Heart and Sole Air Zoom Cush and a limited run of messenger bags will be released June 27th exclusively at Jacks Retail Shop in Huntington Beach. Alkaline Trio recently kicked off their summer tour, supporting their new album Agony and Irony and the release of the shoe. The Heart and Sole Air Zoom Cush will be available at select retailers nationwide on July 11th.

“The collaboration between Nike 6.0 and Alkaline Trio was a natural fit. Punk rock’s independent spirit is a common thread with action sports, and the band member’s live the lifestyle we support.” said Tim Reede, Nike 6.0 Product Line Manager. “We were able to create unique materials and details that reflect the band’s history, resulting in a collaboration that truly tells a story.”

“We chose red and black as the main colors to reflect our Chicago roots and pay homage to the Bulls. We are huge fans,” said Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio. “I’m also into sneakers, so seeing the swoosh and our logo on one product is unbelievable. The shoe looks amazing and provides some insight into who we are.”

Custom design elements include reflective details and bike-tread inspired graphics, correlating to the band’s formative years in Chicago where the members met while working as bike messengers. Distressed materials translate the punk ethos, and the Alkaline Trio logo is featured on the heel cup. The Heart and Sole Cush is constructed of all synthetics, supporting select band members who are vegetarian.

The Air Zoom Cush, new to the Nike 6.0 line, is a low profile action-sports shoe, built for high performance and increased responsiveness. The Cush features a one-piece toe vamp and V-oriented grooves in the sole to increase flex. For more information, and video content visit www.nike6.com.

As the Heart and Sole Air Zoom Cush drops, the Alkaline Trio will be in the midst of a Summer headlining tour in support of their highly anticipated new album Agony & Irony, in stores July 1st. The national tour kicked off May 30th in Vancouver, sweeping major markets across the country and ends in Kansas on August 3rd.

I like the box better than the shoe!

Click here to watch Matt Skiba talking about the shoe. Check out the Mickey Mouse as Hitler artwork behind him. Interesting…
Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio with Mickey Mouse as Hitler Artwork

Child well-being worsens in U.S.

Regarding its key economic indicator, the Kids Count report said 18 percent of U.S. children — 13.3 million of them — were living in poverty in 2006, up by 1 million children from the 17 percent rate in 2000. It said child poverty increased in 32 states during that period.

“It’s disconcerting, because between 2000 and 2006 the economy was doing pretty well,” said Beavers, who predicted the poverty rates would worsen amid the current economic downturn.

www.cnn.com

Single-horned ‘Unicorn’ deer found in Italy

By MARTA FALCONI, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo News

ROME – A deer with a single horn in the center of its head — much like the fabled, mythical unicorn — has been spotted in a nature preserve in Italy, park officials said Wednesday.

 unicorn deer found in italy

“This is fantasy becoming reality,” Gilberto Tozzi, director of the Center of Natural Sciences in Prato, told The Associated Press. “The unicorn has always been a mythological animal.”

The 1-year-old Roe Deer — nicknamed “Unicorn” — was born in captivity in the research center’s park in the Tuscan town of Prato, near Florence, Tozzi said.

He is believed to have been born with a genetic flaw; his twin has two horns.

Calling it the first time he has seen such a case, Tozzi said such anomalies among deer may have inspired the myth of the unicorn.

The unicorn, a horse-like creature with magical healing powers, has appeared in legends and stories throughout history, from ancient and medieval texts to the adventures of Harry Potter.

“This shows that even in past times, there could have been animals with this anomaly,” he said by telephone. “It’s not like they dreamed it up.”

Single-horned deer are rare but not unheard of — but even more unusual is the central positioning of the horn, experts said.

“Generally, the horn is on one side (of the head) rather than being at the center. This looks like a complex case,” said Fulvio Fraticelli, scientific director of Rome’s zoo. He said the position of the horn could also be the result of a trauma early in the animal’s life.

Other mammals are believed to contribute to the myth of the unicorn, including the narwhal, a whale with a long, spiraling tusk.

I read here that “according to Salon’s sources, organic cotton fiber may still be sprayed with fumigants when it’s brought into the U.S. due to laws meant to keep immigrant bugs out. And “made with organic cotton” garments can contain as little as 3 percent of the good stuff.”

“Almost as bad are the dyes to make denim blue, and the finishers and bleaches that give your trendy jeans that lived-in look. These can release tons of harsh chemicals and potential carcinogens during the manufacturing process. ”

Raising cotton uses about 25 percent of the world’s insecticides. Look for organic cotton that’s grown in the U.S, to avoid that import spraying. The U.S. is one of the top two producers of organic cotton (Turkey is the other).”

“The harder part is finding out about the dyes and finishes. Ask for materials using low-impact dyes (though don’t get fooled by promises of natural dyes; those aren’t necessarily safe in production).”

“Avoid all those crazy finishes unless the seller explicitly says they’re created by hand, not by chemicals. Pre-faded knees, whiskering, faux-dirty rinses, and simulated aging all add junk to the fabric while polluting the planet. And stone-washing is rarely done with stones these days; the effect is usually achieved by chemicals.” THIS STUFF LOOKS STUPID ANYWAY.

read the story here (cnn.com)

By Ginny Graves

In April 1993, Britt Harwe, of Wethersfield, Connecticut, was in a good place in her life. She was 26 years old and married to a wonderful guy, and they had a daughter, Caitlin, who was just about to turn 2. She had a job she loved, too. As a customer-service representative at an insurance agency, she’d spend long hours with a phone cradled between her neck and shoulder. So when she woke up one morning with an extremely painful stiff neck, she wasn’t surprised — just a little concerned. “I wanted to get it taken care of right away because I didn’t know if I’d be able to work or take care of my daughter,” she says.

Unfortunately, her doctor couldn’t see her for a week, so, on a friend’s suggestion, Harwe called a local chiropractor. He agreed to see her in his office later that day. During the appointment, the chiropractor explained that in rare cases a patient will have a reaction to treatment. “I remember thinking, ‘What kind of reaction?'” Harwe says. “But it didn’t sound like a big deal.”

The chiropractor put heat packs on Harwe’s neck. And then he did a cervical adjustment, a common chiropractic treatment for neck pain, holding her head in both hands and turning her neck quickly but gently to the right and to the left. Although the pain didn’t go away, Harwe did get some temporary relief, so she scheduled another appointment for a few days later. This time, when the doctor turned her head to the left, she felt nauseated and heard “the sound of the ocean in my head,” she remembers. The chiropractor quickly did an adjustment in the other direction, then asked Harwe to sit up. She couldn’t — the whole left side of her body felt limp and numb — and she couldn’t speak, either.

“My mind was racing, and I was trying to tell the doctor what was wrong, but I couldn’t get any words out,” she says. “It was the most terrifying experience of my life.”

The chiropractor asked his receptionist to prop Harwe up, then he called 911. Harwe remembers the doctor telling emergency crews that she’d had a “reaction” to a treatment, but she recalls little else of the next few days, which she spent in an intensive care unit as doctors tried to figure out what was wrong. Finally, five days after her chiropractic visit, a magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed that the left vertebral artery in her neck was pinched, which cut off blood flow — and life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients — to her brain. Harwe had suffered a stroke. Health.com: Five ways to prevent a stroke

“I was shocked,” she says. “I didn’t know you could have a stroke from chiropractic treatment. And I didn’t know you could have a stroke so young.”

Harwe isn’t the only one unaware of the risks. Though 100,000 women, middle-aged and younger, will have a stroke this year, some doctors — and far too many women — still think of strokes as an affliction of the elderly or of men.

The truth is, a woman between the ages of 45 and 54 is more than twice as likely as a man to have a stroke, according to recent research from the University of California, Los Angeles. What’s more, even though the most common cause is high blood pressure, women are disproportionately affected by some surprising and far-less-well-known causes: chiropractic neck adjustments, pregnancy, oral contraceptives — even getting a salon hair wash, or riding a roller coaster.

“You can’t go through life avoiding everything that carries the slightest risk, but strokes are extremely serious,” says Shirley Otis, M.D., a neurologist at Scripps Clinic Medical Group in La Jolla, California. “It’s important to be aware of what may be dangerous.”

A twist of fate

There are two main types of stroke. The hemorrhagic type occurs when a blood vessel bursts in the brain. And an ischemic stroke happens when a blood vessel that brings oxygen to the brain is diminished or completely cut off, usually because of a blood clot or fatty deposits in the arteries around the brain. This is a dire situation because brain cells deprived of oxygen can start dying within minutes. In about 10 percent of stroke victims younger than 60 — and, for unknown reasons, in more women than men — a blood clot forms because of a tear in an artery. This problem can occur spontaneously or as the result of physical trauma, such as a car accident, a rough roller coaster ride, or a chiropractic neck adjustment, although the last is a matter of fierce debate between neurologists and chiropractors.

“Even if neck adjustments cause strokes (and no one can say for sure that they do) the risk is low — 1 per 100,000 chiropractic patients who receive multiple adjustments,” says chiropractor William Lauretti, an assistant professor at New York Chiropractic College, and a spokesman for the American Chiropractic Association.

Wade Smith, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, agrees that the risk of having a problem from a chiropractic treatment is low, but he believes the risk is very real. In a study he conducted, he found that people who had strokes caused by a torn artery were more than twice as likely to have had a neck adjustment in the month prior to the stroke than those whose strokes weren’t due to a tear. “The risk was statistically significant,” Smith says.

To be on the safe side, anyone who has had a vertebral-artery tear shouldn’t have a neck adjustment. And anyone who has headaches or dizziness, or experiences numbness, tingling, or weakness in limbs — all potential signs of underlying problems in the vertebral arteries in the neck and head — should talk to a doctor about whether a neck adjustment is safe.

“I have recommended chiropractic work for some patients with neck pain,” Smith says, “but only if the chiropractor has formal training and doesn’t use rapid, forceful movements to crack the neck.” Even so, he adds, he has never considered seeing a chiropractor for his own occasional neck pain. “I’d never be able to explain to my family why I ended up disabled because of an elective procedure,” Smith says. Health.com; Don’t worry so much about scary diseases

The salon risk

The risk of suffering a torn artery at a beauty salon is even more remote, but Marilyn Noonan, 47, of La Jolla, California, is proof that it can happen. Two years ago, she was getting ready to go to a dinner party when she looked in the mirror and noticed that one pupil was much larger than the other. “I’m in the insurance business and had just been to an educational seminar on strokes, so I knew that pupil asymmetry wasn’t good,” she says.

Marilyn felt fine, but she called a neurologist friend anyway. The second question he asked her was, “When was the last time you had your hair done?” Her answer: Just a few hours ago. “He said, ‘Marilyn, you need to get to the hospital right away,'” she recalls.

An MRI revealed a tear in her carotid artery. Fortunately, a large clot hadn’t yet formed, so Noonan’s doctors put her on blood-thinning medication for six months until the artery healed. “She was lucky,” says Shirley Otis, M.D., her neurologist. “She could very easily have had a stroke.”

The most likely cause of the tear — tilting the neck back too far during a salon shampoo — is simple to avoid, Otis adds. “Make sure there’s a towel or some other support under your neck so you don’t have to tilt so far,” she says. Researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey reported several years ago that, while tilting your head backward into a sink while shampooing can alter blood flow to the brain, using a support minimizes the problem.

The hidden threat of hormones

Dina Pagnotta, 36, of New York City, was taking a continuing education class one day in 2002 when she noticed a strange feeling. “It was like I’d just gotten a shot of Novocaine,” she recalls. “The whole left side of my body felt numb, and when I tried to take a drink of water, I couldn’t swallow.” A friend called 911. But at first the emergency room doctors were puzzled by her symptoms. Although Pagnotta had a pre-existing heart condition, at only 30 she was too young to be a classic stroke victim. “It wasn’t until they did a full health history and I told them I was on birth control pills that they started taking the idea of stroke seriously.” Her symptoms disappeared within two hours, but tests revealed that Pagnotta had indeed suffered a stroke — most likely cause by the oral contraceptives she’d started taking three months before.

Even low-estrogen pills may increase your risk of stroke, according to the American Stroke Association, perhaps because estrogen causes blood to clot more easily. The higher the level of estrogen in any contraceptive — pill or patch — the greater the risk. (Progestin-only patches probably are not related to strokes.) Your risks also go up if you smoke or have migraines with visual symptoms (called an aura). “And if you smoke, have migraines, and are on the pill, you have 34 times the risk of someone with none of those risk factors,” says Thomas Hemmen, M.D., a neurologist at the University of California, San Diego, Stroke Center. “If you’re going to take the pill, you absolutely should not smoke.”

Pregnancy, too, causes cardiovascular changes, complications such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes that can contribute to strokes. “The risk is greatest in late pregnancy and the first six weeks postpartum,” says Nerissa Ko, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco.

In 2006, researchers at Duke University reported a rate of about 34 strokes for every 100,000 births, higher than previously thought but still fairly low — unless you’re one of those unlucky 34. “If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, it makes sense to minimize your risk by getting your blood pressure and weight under control beforehand,” Ko says.

Get checked out

Women are more likely to die of stroke than men, possibly because doctors are trained to look for typical signs, like slurred speech and paralysis. But women often have different symptoms, like sudden pain on one side of the body, loss of consciousness, or disorientation.

The best way to diagnose stroke, according to a recent study by the National Institutes of Health, is with magnetic resonance imaging, which was found to be twice as accurate as computed tomography, or CT, scans at distinguishing stroke from other problems. But because the single most crucial factor in treating strokes is speed (a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA must be given within three hours of the onset of symptoms), every minute spent in diagnostic limbo could mean the difference between complete recovery and long-term disability, or even death.

A doctor can deliver tPA directly to the clot through a catheter, or he can sometimes pull the clot out of the brain using a catheter. But the more time that passes, the more disabled you’re likely to be. “Only 2 percent of people who could get tPA do, because either doctors are slow to diagnose stroke, especially in younger women, or patients are slow to seek treatment,” Wade Smith, M.D., says. “As a result, women — and their partners and even their children — need to know the signs of stroke so they can discuss the possibility with their doctors.”Health.com: Fast stroke diagnosis key to long-term recovery

Another treatment is minocycline. According to a recent report from Israeli researchers, people treated with this drug (an antibiotic that also works as an anti-inflammatory and may prevent cells from dying) within 24 hours of having a stroke had significantly fewer disabilities than those who weren’t given minocycline.

As for Britt Harwe, who suffered a stroke after a chiropractic adjustment, she’s now 41. And she feels fortunate that she didn’t die — even though the stroke she suffered 14 years ago has left her permanently disabled.

She can’t swallow, so she has to eat through a feeding tube placed in her stomach. She still has trouble speaking because one vocal cord is paralyzed. Walking is exhausting because her left side is weak. And she’s suffered from depression. Still, Harwe believes the future will be brighter.

“When my daughter was young, it took all my energy just to raise her. But now that she’s 16, I’m focusing more on my own recovery,” she says. “I’d like to return to work someday. And I’d like to give more attention to my marriage; my husband has been a saint through all of this, but it’s been tough on him, too. I’ve lost a lot of my life, but I have time to make it better.”

Americans now spend more time with computers than with their spouse

By Mark Raby
tgdaily.com

Redwood City (CA) – The cliched phrase “Honey, I’m home” may now actually be addressing the household computer, as a new survey by Kelton Research shows that the majority of Americans spend more time with their computer than they do with their significant other.

The study, which took a representative sample of 1001 adults, showed that 65% of the people polled said their “significant other” was receiving less attention than their computer, as part of an underlying trend of Americans’ increasing devotion to and relationship with technology.

The results also showed that about 84% of Americans are more dependent on their computer today than they were three years ago. Additionally, the survey looked at problems most Americans face with computers. The average American spends 12 hours per month dealing with and trying to fix computer problems.

“As computers become increasingly pervasive in our lives, our relationships with them can begin to seem almost as important as a relationship with a significant other. When problems then occur with the computer, it often leaves people feeling frustrated or helpless,” said tele-therapist Dr. Robi Ludwig in a press release by support.com, which commissioned the survey.

Computer addiction is a recently new field of study for psychology and has even sparked new detox facilities in other countries, like China. Others are more skeptical about the problem. In a 2005 Stanford report on Internet addiction, one researcher noted, “The Internet is an environment. You can’t be addicted to the environment.”

What’s wrong with you lately???

There’s this:

STRUNG OUT HAD THEIR VAN AND TRAILER STOLEN IN PHILLY THIS MORNING–HELP!!
Taken from the Strung Out message board:
“So our van and trailer just got stolen from our hotel here in Philly around 7:30am. We had just checked in and no more then 20 minutes later, Chris happen to look out the window and see our van driving out. Sure enough, it was skidrown mother fucker ripping it off. So we have lost ALL of our equipment, all of our merch, tons of personal stuff and we are pretty much fucked and stuck in a shitty Days Inn in a fucked up part of town in Philly. There was a double homicide 2 blocks down the road that we were watching about on TV so ya, not a nice part of town at all. Anyhow, if you live in Philly, please be on the look out for our van and trailer. Its a light blue ford E 350 15 passenger van with a white trailer with white rims. There is a bull skull mounted on the front of the grill. We are trying to think what to do. We will figure out how the show must go on though because we for sure dont want to or are we thinking about canceling the tour. We have a lot to figure out here…..
~JB~”


And this:

2 Guards Shot Dead In Armored Car Heist

by KYW’s Al Novack, Tony Hanson, and Steve Tawa

Philadelphia police are searching for gunman who killed two security guards during an armored car robbery Thursday morning in the city’s Rhawnhurst section.

Police officials say two guards were shot to death at point-blank range. A third guard suffered minor injuries when the gunman fired at him as he sat inside the armored car.

Police commissioner Sylvester Johnson has called it an “execution.”

“(One guard) gets up, starts taking money out of the ATM machine. As one guard is taking money out of the ATM machine, an unidentified black male come up around the lefthand side of him and fires, shooting the guard and killing him. He then goes around the pole, shoots the other guard; he is also fatally wounded.”

Later, police officials disclosed that both slain security guards were retired Philadelphia police officers. They are identified as Joseph Allullo, 50, who had been with the force for 27 years until he retired in 2000, and William Widmaier, 65, a 23-year veteran of the force who retired in 1989. Sources say they had been lifelong friends. Read the rest of the story here.

And this:

Phila. Funeral Directors Charged with Trafficking Body Parts

by KYW’s Mark Abrams

Three Philadelphia funeral directors are among five people charged in a scheme to harvest diseased body parts from the dead for resale to companies who then sold them to hospitals.

District attorney Lynne Abraham says the trio allowed 44-year-old Michael Mastromarino, the owner of a Fort Lee, NJ biomedical tissue company to send in a group of “cutters” to harvest bones, skin, and tissue from 244 people.

“These bodies and the tissue and bone from them, were not healthy and in almost every case was totally unsuitable for implantation into anybody for any reason.” Read the whole story here.


+ the Phillies lost again!

I <3 candy!

Life can be sweeter if you cut out the sugar

By Michael Kahn Tue Oct 2, 12:54 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) – Giving up sweets and avoiding vitamins could help you live longer, German researchers said on Tuesday.

They found that restricting glucose — a simple sugar found in foods such as sweets that is a primary source of energy for the body — set off a process that extended the life span of some worms by up to 25 percent.

The key was boosting the level of “free radicals” — unstable molecules that can damage the body and which people often try to get rid of by consuming food or drinks rich in anti-oxidants such as vitamin E, they said in a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Restricting glucose first spurred the worms to generate more free radicals, but then they quickly built up long-lasting defenses against them, said Michael Ristow, an endocrinologist at the University of Jena and the German Institute of Human Nutrition, who led the study.

“During the process, the worm generates more free radicals, which activates defenses against free radicals within the worm,” he said in a telephone interview. “The bad thing in the end promotes something good.”

The body needs glucose, but taking in too much was unhealthy, Ristow said. Read the rest of the story.

Football-flavored sodas for sale
The beverage company captures football’s essence with flavors like ‘Dirt’ and ‘Perspiration.’

SEATTLE (AP) — Ever wonder what the Seahawks’ locker room tastes like after a big game?

Apparently, Jones Soda Co. thinks Seattle NFL fans want to know. The company started taking online pre-orders Thursday for a five-pack of sodas with flavors it says reflect the hard work of professional football players.

Clare Bowles, a spokeswoman for the Seattle-based company, said the four literally named flavors — Dirt, Sports Cream, Perspiration and Natural Field Turf — are “pretty lifelike.”

“Perspiration Soda is kind of salty tasting,” she said, with a slightly higher sodium content than the average soda, with a smooth, “stinky football sock” finish.

gag. I couldn’t finish reading the whole story.

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Police said two women dressed as ninjas were responsible for the hold-up of a Richland Township gas station Saturday morning using a samurai sword.

Police said the two women — one with a dagger, and the other carrying the sword — entered a Sunoco station in the 5600 block of Route 8 at about 3 a.m.

According to police, the women tied up the clerk and robbed the store of cash, cigarettes and lottery tickets. Read the story here.


You have got to be kidding me! I can’t get over how ridiculous people are.

One of my favorite shows is Mystery Diagnosis so I’m very interested in stories like this…

Has your illness been misdiagnosed?

(CNN) Misdiagnoses are more common than you might think: A 2005 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association says autopsy studies show doctors are wrong 10 percent to 15 percent of the time.

Here are some red flags — five reasons for suspecting your doctor might have made the wrong diagnosis.

1. You don’t get better with treatment

2. Your symptoms don’t match your diagnosis

3. Your diagnosis is based purely on a lab test

4. Your doctor attributes common complaints to an uncommon ailment

5. Your diagnosis usually involves a test you never received

If you suspect you’ve been misdiagnosed, you have two choices: You can go back to the doctor who made the original diagnosis, or you can seek out a second opinion (or do both).

Read the full story here.