Woman in Buffalo, New York accidentally sets herself on fire

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Buffalo, New York —A woman in Buffalo, New York in the United States is in critical condition tonight at Sisters Of Charity Hospital after she accidentally set herself on fire.

The unnamed elderly woman was receiving oxygen for medical problems in her home and lit a cigarette, and the oxygen coming from her mask facilitated the ignition of her clothing, setting her on fire.

Despite her “severe” burns as described by firefighters on radio communications, she was still able to dial the emergency line in the U.S., 911.

In the U.S. only 4% of all residential fires were reportedly caused by smoking materials in 2002. These fires, however, were responsible for 19% of residential fire fatalities and 9% of injuries. The fatality rate due to smoking is nearly four times higher than the overall residential fire rate; injuries are more than twice as likely. Forty percent of all smoking fires start in the bedroom or living room/family room; in 35% of these fires, bedding or upholstered furniture are the items first ignited.

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Caribbean Crime: Keeping Yourself Safe

By Jennifer Smith

Since the 1980s, the Caribbean region has been struggling against its own inner demon: crime. Citizens of the Caribbean have quickly learned that rising crime rates on one island can negatively affect other islands in the vicinity. While the islands still offer some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, travelers can sometimes feel insecure about their surroundings, making relaxation more of a challenge.

Several recent news stories about crimes in the Caribbean, including the highly covered disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, have reignited the debate over how to keep the islands safe for travelers. Concern for safety has even inspired a conference in late October, the second Caribbean Conference on Crime and Criminal Justice, and a statement by the Caribbean Commissioners of Police about ways travelers can stay safe. These efforts are visible steps officials are taking to help travelers feel more secure about their vacations, especially as the Caribbean’s tourist season approaches.

Studying Crimes

One of the biggest problems in studying crime among the islands has been that, until recently, few efforts had been made to distinguish crime against island residents from crime against visitors. Obtaining clear and specific crime data has become an important step toward fighting crime in the islands, and newer studies have revealed that violent crimes against vacationers in the Caribbean islands are indeed rare occurrences. While Jamaica, for example, may be known for its high murder rates, the vast majority of murders are crimes by Jamaican nationals against Jamaican nationals.

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Vacationers planning a trip to the islands are more likely to encounter petty theft and other nonviolent crimes than anything else. However, as recent events have shown, this is not a certainty. Some believe that areas inundated with tourists have higher crime rates against tourists because there are as many visitors as residents, while others believe that the relaxed attitude of most travelers is the main contributing factor in these crimes. Although there are several different theories about this, one thing is certain travelers who take precautions generally do not experience such problems during their stay.

Staying Safe

The best way to be safe during Caribbean travel is to avoid making the mistakes most vacationers make just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious. Leaving valuables in plain view in a hotel room or rental car, leaving doors unlocked, displaying too much wealth, and wearing flashy jewelry are all ways to attract thieves. Remember that you are far from home, and replacing valuables, such as a stolen wallet, will be even more difficult. Take the same precautions you would take at home or in any big city to avoid losing important items.

Another way travelers can stumble upon trouble is by walking into “bad” areas of town. It’s common sense to avoid walking down a dark alley in most cities, but vacationers may not always recognize a part of town that locals know to avoid. If an area makes you feel uneasy, or would make you feel uneasy at home, it’s probably best to avoid that area, especially at night. Women particularly should take extra precautions at night and avoid walking alone.

While some believe that tourist-heavy areas inspire more crimes against tourists, these areas have established more rigid security measures to help travelers stay safe. It is difficult to determine whether these areas are more or less safe than any other location. However, one certainty is that most travelers to the Caribbean have never experienced any sort of crime.

Travelers who return year after year to experience all the Caribbean offers rarely tell stories of vacations turning into horrible experiences. So with just a bit of caution in mind, it’s still safe to relax on a Caribbean vacation while the island governments work to put a stop to the troubles that can keep travelers from their shores.

About the Author: Jennifer Smith writes for




, and other Segisys travel Web sites.

2005, Interactive Internet Websites, Inc. Article may only be reprinted if it is not modified in any way, and if all links remain live.



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Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park naming rights go up for sale

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The naming rights for St James’ Park, the home ground of English football club Newcastle United F.C., are to be put up for sale. The club stated that the club would be “welcoming offers for the stadium naming rights next season”. The move was part of a new drive to “maximise its commercial revenues”, after the announcement that owner Mike Ashley was not selling the club, which had been up for sale since May 2009.

St James’ Park is the largest and oldest football stadium in North East England. Football had been played at St James’ Park since 1880, with Newcastle United using it as their home ground since their inception, in 1892. Despite Newcastle being in the second tier of football, St James Park is the third largest club football stadium in England, behind Old Trafford and the Emirates Stadium.

Naming rights is not unprecedented in English football, including the Premier League grounds the Britannia Stadium, DW Stadium, Emirates Stadium, KC Stadium and Reebok Stadium. Bookmakers Ladbrokes named sportswear company and current club sponsor Addidas favourites to secure the rights. In order to stop the move, BBC Radio Newcastle football commentator Mick Lowes suggested that the Newcastle United Supporters Trust‘s used part of its reported £25m funds to pay Ashley not to sell the rights.

Ex-Newcastle striker and local sports pundit Malcolm Macdonald said of the decision:

they thought they had got on the wrong side of the people of Tyneside then just wait and see what happens if they go through with their plans to re-name St James’ Park because there will be an almighty uproar and outcry. It would upset people so much because it everyone’s second home. That is how people feel about it. It has been St James’ Park forever and a day and it should remain that way.

Lee Ryder, the Evening Chronicle‘s chief sportswrite blogged:

We need to make Coors Light Park a fortress” – to even imagine a future Toon player uttering such words will make many physically sick…Renaming St James’s Park is simply bad taste in the eyes of most Geordie fans – and many will feel that even the injection of silly money to do it will do nothing to make up for another piece of heritage being ripped away from the Tyneside streets….Renaming St James’s Park to Coors Light Park, Bwin Park or even the McDonalds Arena shows that Newcastle’s top brass have again got it so seriously wrong

George Caulkin of The Times wrote of the decision:

Renaming St James’ Park is a muddle-headed, flawed and divisive notion which must not and cannot stand. In an era of recession, there may be a need for Newcastle, in their own words, to “maximise their commercial revenues,” but if it comes at the expense of goodwill (what little there is left of it), hope and a sense of community, it would also come at a bitter, prohibitive, self-defeating cost.

There has been debate over the correct spelling and pronunciation of the stadium name, with differing accounts based on its meaning and origin. In 2008, the club insisted to the BBC programme Look North that the the correct spelling of the Stadium is St James’ Park, with no following ‘s’ after James’, because the stadium is not named as “the park of St James”, rather, it is named after the nearby St James Street, which predates the ground.

The announcement came on the same day as it announced Chris Hughton as the club’s permanent manager, and that owner Mike Ashley was taking the club off the market for a second time.

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Obama’s choice for Treasury issues warning on China

Friday, January 23, 2009

Timothy F. Geithner, Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, had his confirmation hearing on Thursday in the United States Senate. If confirmed he will succeed Henry Paulson in this position, which is analogous to the finance minister in other nations.

During Geithner’s testimony in the Senate, he said that the Obama administration believes China is “manipulating” its currency. The New York Times says this suggests a confrontational stance toward China on trade issues.

“President Obama backed by the conclusions of a broad range of economists believes that China is manipulating its currency,” Geithner said in his written responses to the Senate.

In his spoken response, Geithner said he would “use aggressively all diplomatic avenues open to him to seek change in China’s currency practices.”

“The signal this sends is not good [for China-US relations]”, said Charles W. Freeman, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former head trade negotiator for China at the Office of the United States Trade Representative. “It opens a Pandora’s box. We need the Chinese to hold onto their Treasury and agency debt.”

China “will be more than annoyed — they don’t like being singled out, and they don’t like countries explicitly criticizing them for the way they run their economy,” said Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Bloomberg L.P. said that US treasury securities dropped in value following Geithner’s statements.

“It has to be done very carefully,” said Frank Vargo, VP at the National Association of Manufacturers. “You know the world has changed a lot with the financial crisis and China has a lot in U.S. Treasuries. This needs to be done in a cooperative, not a confrontational, way.”

“But…we all know the Chinese currency is deliberately undervalued,” Vargo added.

Geithner was also questioned about taxes he failed to pay on income earned while working for the International Monetary Fund. However, this issue was largely forgiven by the senators.

Senator Orrin Hatch said he was certain Geithner was “a person of great integrity, even though he’s made these mistakes.”

Senator John Cornyn said he was “willing to give Mr. Geithner the benefit of the doubt” on his tax mistakes.

Senator Jon Kyl was not as forgiving on the tax issue. “He [Geithner] has not been as candid with me or the committee as I think he should have been,” Kyl said.

US law requires the Treasury to list countries that manipulate their currency. Former Secretary Paulson cited the 21% appreciation of the yuan since July 2005 as evidence that China was not manipulating the exchange rate, and kept China off the list.

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Wikinews interviews John Taylor Bowles, National Socialist Order of America candidate for US President

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

While nearly all cover of the 2008 Presidential election has focused on the Democratic and Republican candidates, the race for the White House also includes independents and third party candidates. These parties represent a variety of views that may not be acknowledged by the major party platforms.

As a non-partisan news source, Wikinews has impartially reached out to these candidates, throughout the campaign. The most recent of our interviews is Laurens, South Carolina‘s John Taylor Bowles. Mr. Bowles is running with the endorsement of the National Socialist Order of America, a Minnesota-based Neo-Nazi party created after a recent rift in the National Socialist Movement.

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Potasssim And Sodium Remarkable Minerals}

Submitted by: Helen Thomas

Today you cannot afford not to know the information this article has for you. It is a matter of life and death. Taking the proper minerals and knowing why is a must for vitality. Cancer cells are found to die in potassium solutions. Potassium improves blood circulation.

Excessive salt intake create a loss of potassium reserves. Lung disease and chest infections are improved by taking high doses of calcium, potassium and sodium. Olives are one of the highest food in potassium and can help nourish the nerves, brain and heart. Potassium is the mineral spark plug that enhances the entire body’s’ cellular healing.

Raw food dishes with foods high in potassium are best. Potassium plus phosphorous are a winning combination of minerals that get oxygen to the brain and increase mental functioning. Low levels of potassium can cause irritability.

Potassium is a mineral that should be included in any detox program. The heart uses potassium to keep its muscle strong and in combination with iron brings oxygen to the heart and helps circulate clean ,rich, blood to the rest of the body.

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The foods highest in potassium are dandelion greens, almonds, raisin, collard, black currants, potato, radish, peas, barley, dates and figs.

Sodium is a strong ingredient in producing a healthy lymphatic system. Sodium must be taken in its organic form such as sea salt. Sodium plays a role in curing lung diseases because it helps remove carbon dioxide from the lungs.

Liquid minerals combined with vitamin nutrients are the antidote to the world of the busy. Sodium helps balance magnesium. The main influence sodium has in the body is preventing hardening of the arteries.

You are your own best friend. You can chose to allow knowledge to empower you to heal thyself and thrive. Sodium levels are responsible for the production of saliva which is the first step in digestive enzyme action Skin, hair and eyes are dependent upon the mineral sodium for beauty, clarity and brilliance.

Don’t put your lamp under the table shine with your natural power and understand how to consciously chose how to fuel your body intelligently.

Carbohydrates need sodium to process the dreaded good and bad carbohydrate.

These are a list of sodium rich foods ,nuts like cashews, sesame seeds, kumquat, prunes, brusell sprouts, honeydew melon, mango, wheat bran, artichoke , chickpea, cauliflower, onion, coconut, beetroot, garlic and cabbage. Lower levels of sodium but still high in sodium foods are cucumbers, rice, endive, red bean, and cayenne.

Making it your business to understand that the blood needs sodium mineral and 16 other minerals makes it easy to understand it is time right now to act and make sure everyday you are consciously supplying your body with its needs and amazingly enough you will see your body give you what you want.

Cells are the building blocks of the tissue system. Blood quality determines the health of the cell. Every sixty days an entire bodies blood is completely renewed. The blood is dependent upon you. How healthy it will be is your choice. Will you get the minerals you need to take in a way that the body repairs and rebuilds to its true astonishing radiance? 2007 Copyright Dr.Helen Thomas D.C. B.A. All rights reserved in all countries

About the Author: Dr. Helen Thomas , author of two books on Ayurveda. An expert in Nutrition and herbs with 26 years of professional practice recommends U2 go to


and order a remarkably tasty liquid mineral, vitamin, aloe vera, green tea supplement for your daily supplement requirement. Along with self daily oil massage and breathing techniques you can enjoy vigorous vitality and personal power. Click today and go to buy products and have it sent right to your front door and join me in a great daily health practice. Quick, complete and Vemma taste great. Also a great extra income producer. Join the league of health conscious citizens and help keep our community healthy.YOU can make a difference in your own life and of the ones you love. Act Today.



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Former SA Deputy President Appears In Court

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Former Deputy President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, has appeared in a Durban court to face corruption charges. Mr Zuma was dismissed by the President, Thabo Mbeki, earlier in the year, following the conviction on fraud charges of his financial advisor, Schabir Shaik.

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National Museum of Scotland reopens after three-year redevelopment

Friday, July 29, 2011

Today sees the reopening of the National Museum of Scotland following a three-year renovation costing £47.4 million (US$ 77.3 million). Edinburgh’s Chambers Street was closed to traffic for the morning, with the 10am reopening by eleven-year-old Bryony Hare, who took her first steps in the museum, and won a competition organised by the local Evening News paper to be a VIP guest at the event. Prior to the opening, Wikinews toured the renovated museum, viewing the new galleries, and some of the 8,000 objects inside.

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Dressed in Victorian attire, Scottish broadcaster Grant Stott acted as master of ceremonies over festivities starting shortly after 9am. The packed street cheered an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex created by Millenium FX; onlookers were entertained with a twenty-minute performance by the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers on the steps of the museum; then, following Bryony Hare knocking three times on the original doors to ask that the museum be opened, the ceremony was heralded with a specially composed fanfare – played on a replica of the museum’s 2,000-year-old carnyx Celtic war-horn. During the fanfare, two abseilers unfurled white pennons down either side of the original entrance.

The completion of the opening to the public was marked with Chinese firecrackers, and fireworks, being set off on the museum roof. As the public crowded into the museum, the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers resumed their performance; a street theatre group mingled with the large crowd, and the animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex entertained the thinning crowd of onlookers in the centre of the street.

On Wednesday, the museum welcomed the world’s press for an in depth preview of the new visitor experience. Wikinews was represented by Brian McNeil, who is also Wikimedia UK’s interim liaison with Museum Galleries Scotland.

The new pavement-level Entrance Hall saw journalists mingle with curators. The director, Gordon Rintoul, introduced presentations by Gareth Hoskins and Ralph Applebaum, respective heads of the Architects and Building Design Team; and, the designers responsible for the rejuvenation of the museum.

Describing himself as a “local lad”, Hoskins reminisced about his grandfather regularly bringing him to the museum, and pushing all the buttons on the numerous interactive exhibits throughout the museum. Describing the nearly 150-year-old museum as having become “a little tired”, and a place “only visited on a rainy day”, he commented that many international visitors to Edinburgh did not realise that the building was a public space; explaining the focus was to improve access to the museum – hence the opening of street-level access – and, to “transform the complex”, focus on “opening up the building”, and “creating a number of new spaces […] that would improve facilities and really make this an experience for 21st century museum visitors”.

Hoskins explained that a “rabbit warren” of storage spaces were cleared out to provide street-level access to the museum; the floor in this “crypt-like” space being lowered by 1.5 metres to achieve this goal. Then Hoskins handed over to Applebaum, who expressed his delight to be present at the reopening.

Applebaum commented that one of his first encounters with the museum was seeing “struggling young mothers with two kids in strollers making their way up the steps”, expressing his pleasure at this being made a thing of the past. Applebaum explained that the Victorian age saw the opening of museums for public access, with the National Museum’s earlier incarnation being the “College Museum” – a “first window into this museum’s collection”.

Have you any photos of the museum, or its exhibits?

The museum itself is physically connected to the University of Edinburgh’s old college via a bridge which allowed students to move between the two buildings.

Applebaum explained that the museum will, now redeveloped, be used as a social space, with gatherings held in the Grand Gallery, “turning the museum into a social convening space mixed with knowledge”. Continuing, he praised the collections, saying they are “cultural assets [… Scotland is] turning those into real cultural capital”, and the museum is, and museums in general are, providing a sense of “social pride”.

McNeil joined the yellow group on a guided tour round the museum with one of the staff. Climbing the stairs at the rear of the Entrance Hall, the foot of the Window on the World exhibit, the group gained a first chance to see the restored Grand Gallery. This space is flooded with light from the glass ceiling three floors above, supported by 40 cast-iron columns. As may disappoint some visitors, the fish ponds have been removed; these were not an original feature, but originally installed in the 1960s – supposedly to humidify the museum; and failing in this regard. But, several curators joked that they attracted attention as “the only thing that moved” in the museum.

The museum’s original architect was Captain Francis Fowke, also responsible for the design of London’s Royal Albert Hall; his design for the then-Industrial Museum apparently inspired by Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace.

The group moved from the Grand Gallery into the Discoveries Gallery to the south side of the museum. The old red staircase is gone, and the Millennium Clock stands to the right of a newly-installed escalator, giving easier access to the upper galleries than the original staircases at each end of the Grand Gallery. Two glass elevators have also been installed, flanking the opening into the Discoveries Gallery and, providing disabled access from top-to-bottom of the museum.

The National Museum of Scotland’s origins can be traced back to 1780 when the 11th Earl of Buchan, David Stuart Erskine, formed the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland; the Society being tasked with the collection and preservation of archaeological artefacts for Scotland. In 1858, control of this was passed to the government of the day and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland came into being. Items in the collection at that time were housed at various locations around the city.

On Wednesday, October 28, 1861, during a royal visit to Edinburgh by Queen Victoria, Prince-Consort Albert laid the foundation-stone for what was then intended to be the Industrial Museum. Nearly five years later, it was the second son of Victoria and Albert, Prince Alfred, the then-Duke of Edinburgh, who opened the building which was then known as the Scottish Museum of Science and Art. A full-page feature, published in the following Monday’s issue of The Scotsman covered the history leading up to the opening of the museum, those who had championed its establishment, the building of the collection which it was to house, and Edinburgh University’s donation of their Natural History collection to augment the exhibits put on public display.

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Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Closed for a little over three years, today’s reopening of the museum is seen as the “centrepiece” of National Museums Scotland’s fifteen-year plan to dramatically improve accessibility and better present their collections. Sir Andrew Grossard, chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “The reopening of the National Museum of Scotland, on time and within budget is a tremendous achievement […] Our collections tell great stories about the world, how Scots saw that world, and the disproportionate impact they had upon it. The intellectual and collecting impact of the Scottish diaspora has been profound. It is an inspiring story which has captured the imagination of our many supporters who have helped us achieve our aspirations and to whom we are profoundly grateful.

The extensive work, carried out with a view to expand publicly accessible space and display more of the museums collections, carried a £47.4 million pricetag. This was jointly funded with £16 million from the Scottish Government, and £17.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Further funds towards the work came from private sources and totalled £13.6 million. Subsequent development, as part of the longer-term £70 million “Masterplan”, is expected to be completed by 2020 and see an additional eleven galleries opened.

The funding by the Scottish Government can be seen as a ‘canny‘ investment; a report commissioned by National Museums Scotland, and produced by consultancy firm Biggar Economics, suggest the work carried out could be worth £58.1 million per year, compared with an estimated value to the economy of £48.8 prior to the 2008 closure. Visitor figures are expected to rise by over 20%; use of function facilities are predicted to increase, alongside other increases in local hospitality-sector spending.

Proudly commenting on the Scottish Government’s involvement Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, described the reopening as, “one of the nation’s cultural highlights of 2011” and says the rejuvenated museum is, “[a] must-see attraction for local and international visitors alike“. Continuing to extol the museum’s virtues, Hyslop states that it “promotes the best of Scotland and our contributions to the world.

So-far, the work carried out is estimated to have increased the public space within the museum complex by 50%. Street-level storage rooms, never before seen by the public, have been transformed into new exhibit space, and pavement-level access to the buildings provided which include a new set of visitor facilities. Architectural firm Gareth Hoskins have retained the original Grand Gallery – now the first floor of the museum – described as a “birdcage” structure and originally inspired by The Crystal Palace built in Hyde Park, London for the 1851 Great Exhibition.

The centrepiece in the Grand Gallery is the “Window on the World” exhibit, which stands around 20 metres tall and is currently one of the largest installations in any UK museum. This showcases numerous items from the museum’s collections, rising through four storeys in the centre of the museum. Alexander Hayward, the museums Keeper of Science and Technology, challenged attending journalists to imagine installing “teapots at thirty feet”.

The redeveloped museum includes the opening of sixteen brand new galleries. Housed within, are over 8,000 objects, only 20% of which have been previously seen.

  • Ground floor
  • First floor
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The Window on the World rises through the four floors of the museum and contains over 800 objects. This includes a gyrocopter from the 1930s, the world’s largest scrimshaw – made from the jaws of a sperm whale which the University of Edinburgh requested for their collection, a number of Buddha figures, spearheads, antique tools, an old gramophone and record, a selection of old local signage, and a girder from the doomed Tay Bridge.

The arrangement of galleries around the Grand Gallery’s “birdcage” structure is organised into themes across multiple floors. The World Cultures Galleries allow visitors to explore the culture of the entire planet; Living Lands explains the ways in which our natural environment influences the way we live our lives, and the beliefs that grow out of the places we live – from the Arctic cold of North America to Australia’s deserts.

The adjacent Patterns of Life gallery shows objects ranging from the everyday, to the unusual from all over the world. The functions different objects serve at different periods in peoples’ lives are explored, and complement the contents of the Living Lands gallery.

Performance & Lives houses musical instruments from around the world, alongside masks and costumes; both rooted in long-established traditions and rituals, this displayed alongside contemporary items showing the interpretation of tradition by contemporary artists and instrument-creators.

The museum proudly bills the Facing the Sea gallery as the only one in the UK which is specifically based on the cultures of the South Pacific. It explores the rich diversity of the communities in the region, how the sea shapes the islanders’ lives – describing how their lives are shaped as much by the sea as the land.

Both the Facing the Sea and Performance & Lives galleries are on the second floor, next to the new exhibition shop and foyer which leads to one of the new exhibition galleries, expected to house the visiting Amazing Mummies exhibit in February, coming from Leiden in the Netherlands.

The Inspired by Nature, Artistic Legacies, and Traditions in Sculpture galleries take up most of the east side of the upper floor of the museum. The latter of these shows the sculptors from diverse cultures have, through history, explored the possibilities in expressing oneself using metal, wood, or stone. The Inspired by Nature gallery shows how many artists, including contemporary ones, draw their influence from the world around us – often commenting on our own human impact on that natural world.

Contrastingly, the Artistic Legacies gallery compares more traditional art and the work of modern artists. The displayed exhibits attempt to show how people, in creating specific art objects, attempt to illustrate the human spirit, the cultures they are familiar with, and the imaginative input of the objects’ creators.

The easternmost side of the museum, adjacent to Edinburgh University’s Old College, will bring back memories for many regular visitors to the museum; but, with an extensive array of new items. The museum’s dedicated taxidermy staff have produced a wide variety of fresh examples from the natural world.

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At ground level, the Animal World and Wildlife Panorama’s most imposing exhibit is probably the lifesize reproduction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. This rubs shoulders with other examples from around the world, including one of a pair of elephants. The on-display elephant could not be removed whilst renovation work was underway, and lurked in a corner of the gallery as work went on around it.

Above, in the Animal Senses gallery, are examples of how we experience the world through our senses, and contrasting examples of wildly differing senses, or extremes of such, present in the natural world. This gallery also has giant screens, suspended in the free space, which show footage ranging from the most tranquil and peaceful life in the sea to the tooth-and-claw bloody savagery of nature.

The Survival gallery gives visitors a look into the ever-ongoing nature of evolution; the causes of some species dying out while others thrive, and the ability of any species to adapt as a method of avoiding extinction.

Earth in Space puts our place in the universe in perspective. Housing Europe’s oldest surviving Astrolabe, dating from the eleventh century, this gallery gives an opportunity to see the technology invented to allow us to look into the big questions about what lies beyond Earth, and probe the origins of the universe and life.

In contrast, the Restless Earth gallery shows examples of the rocks and minerals formed through geological processes here on earth. The continual processes of the planet are explored alongside their impact on human life. An impressive collection of geological specimens are complemented with educational multimedia presentations.

Beyond working on new galleries, and the main redevelopment, the transformation team have revamped galleries that will be familiar to regular past visitors to the museum.

Formerly known as the Ivy Wu Gallery of East Asian Art, the Looking East gallery showcases National Museums Scotland’s extensive collection of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese material. The gallery’s creation was originally sponsored by Sir Gordon Wu, and named after his wife Ivy. It contains items from the last dynasty, the Manchu, and examples of traditional ceramic work. Japan is represented through artefacts from ordinary people’s lives, expositions on the role of the Samurai, and early trade with the West. Korean objects also show the country’s ceramic work, clothing, and traditional accessories used, and worn, by the indigenous people.

The Ancient Egypt gallery has always been a favourite of visitors to the museum. A great many of the exhibits in this space were returned to Scotland from late 19th century excavations; and, are arranged to take visitors through the rituals, and objects associated with, life, death, and the afterlife, as viewed from an Egyptian perspective.

The Art and Industry and European Styles galleries, respectively, show how designs are arrived at and turned into manufactured objects, and the evolution of European style – financed and sponsored by a wide range of artists and patrons. A large number of the objects on display, often purchased or commissioned, by Scots, are now on display for the first time ever.

Shaping our World encourages visitors to take a fresh look at technological objects developed over the last 200 years, many of which are so integrated into our lives that they are taken for granted. Radio, transportation, and modern medicines are covered, with a retrospective on the people who developed many of the items we rely on daily.

What was known as the Museum of Scotland, a modern addition to the classical Victorian-era museum, is now known as the Scottish Galleries following the renovation of the main building.

This dedicated newer wing to the now-integrated National Museum of Scotland covers the history of Scotland from a time before there were people living in the country. The geological timescale is covered in the Beginnings gallery, showing continents arranging themselves into what people today see as familiar outlines on modern-day maps.

Just next door, the history of the earliest occupants of Scotland are on display; hunters and gatherers from around 4,000 B.C give way to farmers in the Early People exhibits.

The Kingdom of the Scots follows Scotland becoming a recognisable nation, and a kingdom ruled over by the Stewart dynasty. Moving closer to modern-times, the Scotland Transformed gallery looks at the country’s history post-union in 1707.

Industry and Empire showcases Scotland’s significant place in the world as a source of heavy engineering work in the form of rail engineering and shipbuilding – key components in the building of the British Empire. Naturally, whisky was another globally-recognised export introduced to the world during empire-building.

Lastly, Scotland: A Changing Nation collects less-tangible items, including personal accounts, from the country’s journey through the 20th century; the social history of Scots, and progress towards being a multicultural nation, is explored through heavy use of multimedia exhibits.

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Energy companies to raise consumer rates

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Reliant Energy and CenterPoint Energy–two local utilities in Houston, Texas–plan to increase consumer rates in response to increased demand and recent disasters.

Reliant Energy is expected to raise rates to effect a 14% increase on a 1,000 kilowatt-hour bill. A typical customer could see an increase up to $20 per month. Reliant has reached an agreement with the Texas Public Utilities Commission to raise rates in two steps, once at the end of October, and again on 1 January 2006.

CenterPoint Energy must increase charges for services such as meter-reading and customer service. The Texas Public Utilities Commission prohibits natural gas companies from buying wholesale product, raising rates, and reselling. Wholesale prices of natural gas also continue to rise due to increased demand and declining domestic supply. Natural gas cannot be easily shipped to other regions like oil.

Consumer energy prices are expected to rise across the state, in some cases as much as 20%.

The Texas Public Utilities Commission must approve rate increases before they go into effect, but approval is expected.

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Rappaport Sprague Stethoscopes: The Beauty Is In Its Simplicity

By Gary Gordon

Stethoscopes have been around for centuries, and they have come a long way in their evolutionary history, but throughout the ages, they have always proven to be indispensable to those who offer medical health care. So prevalent are they in medicine, that the notion of a doctor or nurse without one seems an anathema. Perhaps the most commonly seen and used type is the acoustic Rappaport Sprague Stethoscopes. This two-sided stethoscope is one of the most advanced acoustic types, but its simplicity allows for these to be easy and quick to use. The versatility of the Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope also allows for its use in all ages and sizes of patients by the simple switching to another size chestpiece. Ease of use and simplicity of design are the hallmarks of these most evolved medical supplies required for daily use by providers.

From the time of the ancient Greeks until 1816, the only way that a doctor could listen to a patient’s internal sounds was to put his ear directly on that part of the body. This could be an uncomfortable situation for male doctors examining female patients. A Frenchman named Rene Laennec realized this can created a device so that he could listen to the body without directly touching the patient. His device was a monaural stethoscope since it only had one ear piece. It was little more than a simple wooden tube. Some years later, in the 1850s, the biaural or two eared stethoscopes was invented. There might have been two ear tips, but there was still only one chestpiece which was a simple bell. This was suitable for listening for low frequency sounds, but for it still lacked the ability to ably detect high frequency sounds. In the early 1900s, a diaphragm was introduced to listen to those high frequency sounds that were missed by the bell, but the diaphragm was on a separate chestpiece from the bell. This meant that physicians would have to switch stethoscopes to hear the different sounds. Finally, in 1940 the Sprague Rappaport stethoscope was invented. Named after its two developers, the Sprague Rappaport stethoscope is characterized by its two sides, a bell and a diaphragm. The physician can switch between these for pinpointing various sounds by simply twisting the chestpiece around.

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Unlike other instruments, the Rappaport Sprague stethoscope is so common that even pediatric patients are not frightened or upset by the sight or use of them. Interchanging chestpieces of varying sizes allow for the physician to better use their stethoscope with every patient, from the smallest infants to the largest adults. By having interchangable chestpieces, the provider can also pinpoint various sounds with better accuracy. This allows for the most precise diagnosis.

Use of a Sprague Rappaport stethoscope is almost intuitive. The earpieces are firmly placed into the ears and either the bell or diaphragm is selected. Twisting the chestpiece until hearing a click, will ensure that either the bell or diaphragm is in the correct position for listening. The diaphragm will be best for listening to high frequency sounds, especially when there are sounds of lower frequency that are interfering with proper detection. The bell is best for isolating low frequency tones.

Quality Sprague Rappaport stethoscopes are simple to use, offer tubing that blocks excess outside noise, comfortable eartips, and have a selection of chestpieces which are easily interchanged. Choices abound, but for the best in patient treatment, the practitioner should only equip himself with the best in medical equipment, including his Sprague Rappaport Stethoscope.

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Rappaport Sprague stethoscopes. Source: isnare.com

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