Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

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Australian government announces $52.5 million financial assistance package for Ford

Friday, May 5, 2006

Australian Prime Minister John Howard and federal industry minister Ian MacDonald today announced that the federal government would be providing Ford Australia with a AU$52.5 million (US$40.4 million) “financial assistance package”. Additional assistance will also be provided by the Victorian state government.

According to Mr Howard, the injection will secure Ford’s manufacturing operations in Australia “for the long term”.

From the package, AU$40 million will be used for the design and manufacture of Ford’s next model Falcon and Territory vehicles, which will be built in Australia.

Despite being given a major facelift in 2002 and another in 2005, the Falcon’s bodyshell dates back to 1998. The current Falcon will need to serve the company until at least 2007 when the new model is anticipated. In the meantime, it will face stiff competition from the completely new Holden Commodore (the Falcon’s major competitor) which will be released in the second half of this year.

The additional AU$12.5 million will be spent on the development of a light commercial vehicle platform, which will be built overseas and marketed to around 80 countries. Mr Howard said that the light commercial project would involve construction of a research and development centre, which will become the base for R&D projects in the region.

Mr MacFarlane said that the research facility was exciting for Australia and that it would put the Australian automotive in the spotlight.

“The funding has helped Ford Australia secure the largest automotive R&D project ever undertaken in Australia which is equally exciting news for local Ford employees and Australian component producers” he said.

“The project will see Ford Australia become a centre for automotive design and engineering excellence in the Asia Pacific region which will bring spin-off benefits for the broader industry,”

“This opportunity will put both Ford Australia, and the Australian automotive and components sectors on the world map as far as our automotive design and engineering capabilities are concerned.” Mr MacFarlane said.

Mr Howard claims that the projects will create 273 jobs and secure the future of the “iconic” Ford Falcon, which has been built in Australia since 1960.

The financial package is conditional upon Ford Australia giving the Australian automotive component industry an opportunity to supply components for the vehicles produced by the two projects.

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Xm Radio In Your Corolla

By Tom Blackman

Listen to the Stars with Satellite Radio

One of the truly great inventions of the modern world has got to be satellite radio. It has grown from humble beginnings into a force for both businesses and for artistic creativity. The fact that it is subscription based eliminates the need for commercial breaks, enabling the DJs to play long sets. Also, the fact that it is niche based allows them to push the boundaries of whatever musical genre they are promoting. These are great advantages to this form of radio, but one of the greatest advantages is that you could take an entire cross country trip and keep listening to the same channel playing the same great music or talk content. Because of this, it seems that satellite radio was made for car enthusiasts. Luckily, it is quite easy to hook your Corolla up with satellite radio; all you need is a Toyota antenna and a few satellite-ready Toyota Corolla parts. This article will examine which Toyota antenna and Toyota Corolla parts you can get to start your satellite radio adventure.

In addition to a Toyota antenna, there are a couple of Toyota Corolla parts you will need to receive satellite radio transmissions. The first is a satellite-ready radio. This is simply a car radio that is able to receive the satellite signal. These can be purchased pre-installed in your Corolla or you can get these Toyota Corolla parts from an aftermarket dealer. Another one of the Toyota Corolla parts that you will need before you can get started is a tuner box. This combines with your satellite ready radio to deliver the crisp digital sound to your cockpit. These can also be bought aftermarket, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

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Once you have the above-mentioned Toyota Corolla parts, you will need to purchase a Toyota antenna. These also come in a variety of styles. Some of the most common styles of Toyota antenna are the roof-mounted and the magnet-mounted. Which Toyota antenna you choose is largely a matter of personal style and of the configuration of your car. These can be relatively small and unobtrusive. A roof-mounted antenna is likely to be slightly more visible. There is also a glass-mounted version. The key to remember is that you must look at the individual antenna to find one that suits you. No matter what style of Toyota antenna you purchase, it will capture the digital satellite radio signal and funnel it to your cockpit.

If you are one of those people who enjoy listening to the radio, you will probably love the freedom and reliability that satellite radio delivers. Its commercial-free nature and edge-pushing artistry are truly its most amazing aspects. There is also a wide range of programming present, from comedy shows to dramas, from talk shows to up-to-date weather and traffic reporting. There is truly something for everyone. All you need to do is get the proper Toyota Corolla parts, and a Toyota antenna, and you are all set. Both the antenna and the Toyota Corolla parts are available in all sorts of styles, so take your time and find the best ones for you.

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Early morning fire kills four New York group home residents

Sunday, March 22, 2009

After an early morning fire began, four out of the nine people living at the Riverview Individual Residential Alternative group home located in Wells, New York were killed by the blaze. The Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office, which supervises the home, told the media that the fire started at approximately 5:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time. Two staff members were at the home at the time, who safely evacuated four of the five survivors.

The names of the residents killed in the fire were not able to be released due to New York’s Mental Hygiene Law, but are able to be identified as two adult men, aged 32 and 52, and two adult women, aged 43 and 60. A 71-year-old male was injured in the fire, and was taken to a hospital in Utica, a nearby city. The other four residents have been relocated to an unnamed group home. Both staff members are also being examined at the hospital.

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of the four victims and to continue to pray for the full recovery of those five people and two staff members who survived this incident. I also want to express my thanks and appreciation for the first responders and volunteers who worked swiftly and diligently to respond to this tragedy,” David Patterson, the governor of New York, said to the media.

The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined. However, the New York Civil Liberties Union stated that “the blaze appears to have been an electrical fire and the sprinkler system was knocked out immediately.” They also called for “an immediate investigation into the causes of and contributing factors of the fire.”

The New York State Department of State Office of Fire Prevention and Control is currently investigating the causes of the blaze, with help from New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

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Calls for corporate tax reform in Australia goes unheeded

Friday, May 12, 2006

Peter Costello’s budget announcement has led to rejoicing for small businesses, but the lack of joy for those pushing for radical corporate taxation reform has led to many businesses asking “what about us?”

Personal taxation and small business have been the big winners after this year’s federal budget. Although dampened by the twin economic threats of rising interest rates and petrol prices, there should be a reasonable amount of real income savings for both low and high income earners, with those receiving Medicare, or a superannuation benefit, privy to an even lower level of taxation (0% for those on super benefits).

Small business also has benefited from the Howard government’s 11th annual budget, with them receiving a higher level of reducing depreciation, leading to a higher level of deductions in the years following the uptake of new technology or other capital. They are also privy to a AU$435 million dollar tax cut to compensate for their changing accounting requirements under the government’s new AIFRS reporting standards, as well as increasing the uptake of both the small business tax relief scheme and CGT (Capital Gains tax) Concessions.

The budget was not a complete loss for big business however, as superannuation laws have been tweaked to streamline contribution and payment rules previously impeding those with multitudes of staff.

But this is not enough, says Big 4 accounting firm Ernst & Young. In their newly published paper “Taxation of Investment in Australia: the need for ongoing reform”. In it they lead the charge for a greater streamlining and organization of the corporate tax system in Australia, submitting that it will lead to reductions in “disincentives to work save and invest in Australia [as well as improving] the international competitiveness of Australian businesses.” This follows from a recent report brought out by Mr. Costello himself about the need for tax reform in Australia.

A budget night Mr. Costello was notably coy about any future reform of corporate tax in Australia. He alluded to the report by his ministers but kept from outlining the government’s plan precisely.

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Listening to you at last: EU plans to tap cell phones

Monday, October 19, 2009

A report accidentally published on the Internet provides insight into a secretive European Union surveillance project designed to monitor its citizens, as reported by Wikileaks earlier this month. Project INDECT aims to mine data from television, internet traffic, cellphone conversations, p2p file sharing and a range of other sources for crime prevention and threat prediction. The €14.68 million project began in January, 2009, and is scheduled to continue for five years under its current mandate.

INDECT produced the accidentally published report as part of their “Extraction of Information for Crime Prevention by Combining Web Derived Knowledge and Unstructured Data” project, but do not enumerate all potential applications of the search and surveillance technology. Police are discussed as a prime example of users, with Polish and British forces detailed as active project participants. INDECT is funded under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), and includes participation from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Indicated in the initial trial’s report, the scope of data collected is particularly broad; days of television news, radio, newspapers, and recorded telephone conversations are included. Several weeks of content from online sources were agglomerated, including mining Wikipedia for users’ and article subjects’ relations with others, organisations, and in-project movements.

Watermarking of published digital works such as film, audio, or other documents is discussed in the Project INDECT remit; its purpose is to integrate and track this information, its movement within the system and across the Internet. An unreleased promotional video for INDECT located on YouTube is shown to the right. The simplified example of the system in operation shows a file of documents with a visible INDECT-titled cover taken from an office and exchanged in a car park. How the police are alerted to the document theft is unclear in the video; as a “threat”, it would be the INDECT system’s job to predict it.

Throughout the video use of CCTV equipment, facial recognition, number plate reading, and aerial surveillance give friend-or-foe information with an overlaid map to authorities. The police proactively use this information to coordinate locating, pursuing, and capturing the document recipient. The file of documents is retrieved, and the recipient roughly detained.

Technology research performed as part of Project INDECT has clear use in countering industrial and international espionage, although the potential use in maintaining any security and predicting leaks is much broader. Quoted in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, Liberty’s director, Shami Chakrabarti, described a possible future implementation of INDECT as a “sinister step” with “positively chilling” repercussions Europe-wide.

“It is inevitable that the project has a sensitive dimension due to the security focussed goals of the project,” Suresh Manandhar, leader of the University of York researchers involved in the “Work Package 4” INDECT component, responded to Wikinews. “However, it is important to bear in mind that the scientific methods are much more general and has wider applications. The project will most likely have lot of commercial potential. The project has an Ethics board to oversee the project activities. As a responsible scientists [sic] it is of utmost importance to us that we conform to ethical guidelines.”

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Although Wikinews attempted to contact Professor Helen Petrie of York University, the local member of Project INDECT’s Ethics board, no response was forthcoming. The professor’s area of expertise is universal access, and she has authored a variety of papers on web-accessibility for blind and disabled users. A full list of the Ethics board members is unavailable, making their suitability unassessable and distancing them from public accountability.

One potential application of Project INDECT would be implementation and enforcement of the U.K.’s “MoD Manual of Security“. The 2,389-page 2001 version passed to Wikileaks this month — commonly known as JSP-440, and marked “RESTRICTED” — goes into considerable detail on how, as a serious threat, investigative journalists should be monitored, and effectively thwarted; just the scenario the Project INDECT video could be portraying.

When approached by Wikinews about the implications of using INDECT, a representative of the U.K.’s Attorney General declined to comment on legal checks and balances such a system might require. Further U.K. enquiries were eventually referred to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, who have not yet responded.

Wikinews’ Brian McNeil contacted Eddan Katz, the International Affairs Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.). Katz last spoke to Wikinews in early 2008 on copyright, not long after taking his current position with the E.F.F. He was back in Brussels to speak to EU officials, Project INDECT was on his agenda too — having learned of it only two weeks earlier. Katz linked Project INDECT with a September report, NeoConopticon — The EU Security-Industrial Complex, authored by Ben Hayes for the Transnational Institute. The report raises serious questions about the heavy involvement of defence and IT companies in “security research”.

On the record, Katz answered a few questions for Wikinews.

((WN)) Is this illegal? Is this an invasion of privacy? Spying on citizens?

Eddan Katz When the European Parliament issued the September 5, 2001 report on the American ECHELON system they knew such an infrastructure is in violation of data protection law, undermines the values of privacy and is the first step towards a totalitarian surveillance information society.

((WN)) Who is making the decisions based on this information, about what?

E.K. What’s concerning to such a large extent is the fact that the projects seem to be agnostic to that question. These are the searching systems and those people that are working on it in these research labs do search technology anyway. […] but its inclusion in a database and its availability to law enforcement and its simultaneity of application that’s so concerning, […] because the people who built it aren’t thinking about those questions, and the social questions, and the political questions, and all this kind of stuff. [… It] seems like it’s intransparent, unaccountable.

The E.U. report Katz refers to was ratified just six days before the September 11 attacks that brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center. In their analysis of the never-officially-recognised U.S. Echelon spy system it states, “[i]n principle, activities and measures undertaken for the purposes of state security or law enforcement do not fall within the scope of the EC Treaty.” On privacy and data-protection legislation enacted at E.U. level it comments, “[such does] not apply to ‘the processing of data/activities concerning public security, defence, state security (including the economic well-being of the state when the activities relate to state security matters) and the activities of the state in areas of criminal law'”.

Part of the remit in their analysis of Echelon was rumours of ‘commercial abuse’ of intelligence; “[i]f a Member State were to promote the use of an interception system, which was also used for industrial espionage, by allowing its own intelligence service to operate such a system or by giving foreign intelligence services access to its territory for this purpose, it would undoubtedly constitute a breach of EC law […] activities of this kind would be fundamentally at odds with the concept of a common market underpinning the EC Treaty, as it would amount to a distortion of competition”.

Ben Hayes’ NeoConoptiocon report, in a concluding section, “Following the money“, states, “[w]hat is happening in practice is that multinational corporations are using the ESRP [European Seventh Research Programme] to promote their own profit-driven agendas, while the EU is using the programme to further its own security and defence policy objectives. As suggested from the outset of this report, the kind of security described above represents a marriage of unchecked police powers and unbridled capitalism, at the expense of the democratic system.”

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New Home Builders Can Build Your Dream Home

byAlma Abell

When trying to find a “forever home,” many are discouraged when visiting the selection of pre-owned homes on the market. Maybe the layout isn’t quite right, maybe the kitchen is too small, or the bathrooms will need a total renovation before they work for the family. Whatever the reason, though it may be difficult to find the perfect house, it isn’t impossible. New Home Builders can construct a custom-built dream house, perfect for any family. Surprising to some, when factoring in potential remodeling costs when purchasing a pre-owned home that isn’t up to par, it can be more cost-effective to build a new home from the ground up. This way the exact layout, cabinets, flooring and colors and more can be chosen upfront, ensuring the new home construction will fulfill all the dreams and desires of its owner.

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One important factor when discussing homes with New Home Builders, such as those at Lancia Homes, it to confirm the floor plan chosen is one that will accommodate the family now, and in the future. Many build a new home, assuming it will be their long-term residence yet forget to take into account as the years pass and the family grows there may be different needs. Twin toddlers sharing a bedroom may be fine, but as teenagers, they may both want and need their own space. Aging adults may want to consider the hardship stairs may cause as the years add up and instead opt for a home all on one level.

Though it bathroom home may be an extra luxury busy families will appreciate. A family with either young children or teens knows the struggle to keep the bathroom clean. The added stress of the children’s bathroom doubling as a guest bath can make daily cleaning an extra chore. Many homeowners will find the extra “breathing room” provided from an additional half-bath for guests is well worth the minimal extra expense.

When building a new home, take a time to consider all the details, both big and small. This ensures that, when completed, your new home will be the home of your dreams. You can follow them on Pinterest.

Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson under fire for remarks about earthquake in Haiti

Friday, January 15, 2010

American radio host and conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh and televangelist Pat Robertson have drawn criticism from the White House for comments made on Thursday criticizing the relief efforts for Haiti following Tuesday’s earthquake there.

When asked by a caller on his radio show about the president urging Americans to contribute to the Red Cross to help those affected, Limbaugh responded, “Would you trust that the money is going to go to Haiti? Would you trust that your name is going to instead end up on a mailing list for the Obama people to start asking you for campaign donations for him and other causes?”

“Besides,” Limbaugh added, “We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called the U.S. income tax.”

Limbaugh went on to say that the American president “runs around the world apologizing for” the United States, and that “he now turns to us as its president and asks people who have lost their jobs because of his policies to donate to WhiteHouse.gov to the people of Haiti, and we will do it. We are the most charitable and the most generous people on the face of the earth. Each and every time a natural disaster like this happens, we step up. We are there. We have yet another crisis simply too good to waste. This will play right into Obama’s hands. He’s humanitarian, compassionate. They’ll use this to burnish their, shall we say, ‘credibility’ with the black community—in the both light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It’s made-to-order for them. That’s why he couldn’t wait to get out there, could not wait to get out there.”

Robertson’s remarks on Thursday were also considered to be inflammatory when he suggested on his television show, The 700 Club that the current situation in Haiti is a direct result of a deal Haitians made with Satan in the late 1700s.

Robertson stated that the Haitian people in that time, “were under the heel of the French, uh, you know Napoleon the 3rd and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They [the Haitian leaders] said, ‘We will serve you [Satan] if you’ll get us free from the French.’ True story. And so the Devil said, ‘Okay, it’s a deal.’ And, uh, they kicked the French out, you know, with the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by, by one thing after another, desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It’s cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti on the other side is the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is, is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etcetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island. They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God and out of this tragedy I’m optimistic something good may come. But right now we’re helping the suffering people and the suffering is unimaginable.”

When asked about these two statements during his press briefing Thursday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied to them both respectively, “In times of great crisis, there are always people that say really stupid things. I don’t know how anybody could sit where [they] do, having enjoyed the success that [they have], and not feel some measure of sorrow for what has happened in Haiti. I think to use the power of your pulpit to try to convince those not to help their brothers and sisters is sad. My sense is that most people, though, because they understand we’re part of an amazing world, won’t listen and instead will seek to help those that they know, because it is through no fault of their own, have suffered an unspeakable tragedy.”

Chris Roslan, spokesperson for the network that broadcasts Robertson’s show defended the remarks stating, “Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath. If you watch the entire video segment, Dr. Robertson’s compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for them.”

Rush Limbaugh and the radio network that carries his show still have yet to reply to the criticism from The White House and elsewhere.

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The Healing Effects Of Life At Sorensons Ranch School

Some of the animals have many purposes in our program. Some are used for our 4-H program. They can also be individually assigned to students to care for, groom, and show at the local county fairs. Horses, sheep, pigs, and cattle are the main stock that our youth learn to care for and show. The 4-H program nationally has been a proven vehicle in helping youth build self-esteem, knowledge, and individual responsibility. This individual responsibility can help teens overcome problems associated with ADD, ADHD, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), anger, depression, lack of discipline, and many other common issues with troubled teens. Sorensons Ranch focuses on helping troubled youth return to a time of tending to their chores and taking care of the work that is involved in running a ranch. Another element that animals provide is unconditional love to their caregivers, and they present non-judgmental companionship, which is especially valuable with troubled youth with reactive attachment issues. Shoveling horse manure, feeding horses, herding cattle, assisting in the birthing process of the animals, fixing fences, watering, grooming, breaking horses, growing crops, hauling hay all these activities prepare the youth at Sorensons Ranch School to learn responsibility and respect. There is never a dull moment and the youth have plenty of things to do! It could be argued that life in a simpler form (ranch life) has a way of soothing the soul. The high mountain valley that provides the backdrop for helping children here at Sorensons Ranch School is a beautiful region with high elevation peaks on each side of the valley. Water arrives by canal down to our farm, which then goes into our sprinkling system. The students help in the preparation of the fields for planting by scouring the freshly tilled portions for rocks, which show up with each new plowing of the fields. The youth remove the rocks by hand or in a wheelbarrow and deposit them in the lower fields. Once the fields are planted the sprinklers are the way our crops are irrigated. The youth then must move the sprinklers on average every twelve hours for crops of oat hay or barley. With alfalfa or alfalfa-grass mixes for horses the sprinklers are moved once daily. Endorphins are produced in the human body by the pituitary gland during strenuous activity. Endorphins give us all a sense of wellbeing. Some have likened endorphins to the bodys natural pain relievers. With this knowledge, we capitalize on the healing/soothing effects in our youths lives by keeping our youth busy in the many activities. There is a simple pleasure to riding a horse through one of our mountain valleys or hauling hay. Often when troubled teens arrive they are reluctant or outright against participating in many of the activities we offer. Some of this stems from basic rebelliousness while often times we find fear to be a factor. Standing by a horse, ready to throw a saddle on it is an intimidating feat for most people. Often as students watch their peers performing these kinds of tasks, it helps them realize that there are many things they can accomplish that were previously considered foolish or impossible. Sorensons Ranch School is an excellent program that helps struggling teens find the answers to the problems that they are facing and helps them learn to find solutions on their own. For more information contact the admissions office at 1-888-830-4802 or visit the Sorensons Ranch website at www.eprogramsearch.com/sorensons-ranch-school.php

Saturn moon Enceladus may have salty ocean

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NASA’s Cassini–Huygens spacecraft has discovered evidence for a large-scale saltwater reservoir beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The data came from the spacecraft’s direct analysis of salt-rich ice grains close to the jets ejected from the moon. The study has been published in this week’s edition of the journal Nature.

Data from Cassini’s cosmic dust analyzer show the grains expelled from fissures, known as tiger stripes, are relatively small and usually low in salt far away from the moon. Closer to the moon’s surface, Cassini found that relatively large grains rich with sodium and potassium dominate the plumes. The salt-rich particles have an “ocean-like” composition and indicate that most, if not all, of the expelled ice and water vapor comes from the evaporation of liquid salt-water. When water freezes, the salt is squeezed out, leaving pure water ice behind.

Cassini’s ultraviolet imaging spectrograph also recently obtained complementary results that support the presence of a subsurface ocean. A team of Cassini researchers led by Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, measured gas shooting out of distinct jets originating in the moon’s south polar region at five to eight times the speed of sound, several times faster than previously measured. These observations of distinct jets, from a 2010 flyby, are consistent with results showing a difference in composition of ice grains close to the moon’s surface and those that made it out to the E ring, the outermost ring that gets its material primarily from Enceladean jets. If the plumes emanated from ice, they should have very little salt in them.

“There currently is no plausible way to produce a steady outflow of salt-rich grains from solid ice across all the tiger stripes other than salt water under Enceladus’s icy surface,” said Frank Postberg, a Cassini team scientist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

The data suggests a layer of water between the moon’s rocky core and its icy mantle, possibly as deep as about 50 miles (80 kilometers) beneath the surface. As this water washes against the rocks, it dissolves salt compounds and rises through fractures in the overlying ice to form reserves nearer the surface. If the outermost layer cracks open, the decrease in pressure from these reserves to space causes a plume to shoot out. Roughly 400 pounds (200 kilograms) of water vapor is lost every second in the plumes, with smaller amounts being lost as ice grains. The team calculates the water reserves must have large evaporating surfaces, or they would freeze easily and stop the plumes.

“We imagine that between the ice and the ice core there is an ocean of depth and this is somehow connected to the surface reservoir,” added Postberg.

The Cassini mission discovered Enceladus’ water-vapor and ice jets in 2005. In 2009, scientists working with the cosmic dust analyzer examined some sodium salts found in ice grains of Saturn’s E ring but the link to subsurface salt water was not definitive. The new paper analyzes three Enceladus flybys in 2008 and 2009 with the same instrument, focusing on the composition of freshly ejected plume grains. In 2008, Cassini discovered a high “density of volatile gases, water vapor, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, as well as organic materials, some 20 times denser than expected” in geysers erupting from the moon. The icy particles hit the detector target at speeds between 15,000 and 39,000 MPH (23,000 and 63,000 KPH), vaporizing instantly. Electrical fields inside the cosmic dust analyzer separated the various constituents of the impact cloud.

“Enceladus has got warmth, water and organic chemicals, some of the essential building blocks needed for life,” said Dennis Matson in 2008, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“This finding is a crucial new piece of evidence showing that environmental conditions favorable to the emergence of life can be sustained on icy bodies orbiting gas giant planets,” said Nicolas Altobelli, the European Space Agency’s project scientist for Cassini.

“If there is water in such an unexpected place, it leaves possibility for the rest of the universe,” said Postberg.

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