Monthly Archives: December 2013

The best financial advice from 22 big names

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

Thanks;Rex Crum @mktwcrum&
Follow the Tell @thetellblog
December 28, 2013, 12:23 PM

The end of the year is often a time to take stock and look ahead to the future — and get financial advice.

The Wall Street Journal asked 22 well-known investors and writers for their best piece of advice about money. Some shared advice they gave, while others passed on advice they were given.

Among the [hopeful] pearls of financial wisdom…

“Price yourself high and see what happens.” Humans aren’t good at knowing their market value. — Scott Adams, Creator of ‘Dilbert’ and author of ‘How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big’.

“Invest in what you are doing, show your own confidence in what you are doing.” — Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, chairman of Starr Insurance Holdings and former chairman of American International Group.

“When friends and acquaintances are telling you [that] you are a genius…

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On Anniversary Of Apollo 8, How The ‘Earthrise’ Photo Was Made

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

Thanks;SCOTT NEUMAN
December 23, 2013 4:23 PM

20131224-135740.jpg
The first humans to catch a glimpse of the Earth rising over the moon nearly missed seeing it at all, let alone capturing the snapshot that became one of the most iconic photos of the 20th century.

NASA has released an animation commemorating the 45th anniversary of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to orbit the moon. The famous “Earthrise” photo was taken on Christmas Eve 1968.
http://youtu.be/dE-vOscpiNc

“It really came about by accident,” space author Andrew Chaikin, who narrates the video, tells NPR’s Morning Edition in an interview that will air Tuesday.

Comparing new data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter probe, which has been circling the moon since 2009, with the Apollo 8 astronauts’ photography and Apollo 8’s onboard audio, the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Scientific Visualization Studio has been able to discover just how serendipitous the famous snapshot was.

“It turns…

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Medical sciences news highlights of 2013

Vaniceseasonal's Blog

Thanks;BBC news

With a baby cured of HIV and breakthroughs in dementia, it’s been a year where two of the great scourges of our time have been put on the back foot.

Meanwhile a vision of the future of medicine has emerged, with scientists growing miniature organs -including brains – and performing the first steps of human cloning.

BBC health and science reporter James Gallagher reviews the year in medical science.

HIV baby cure

20131230-145532.jpg

One of the most remarkable stories of the year was a baby girl in the US seemingly being “cured” of HIV.

Her mother had an uncontrolled HIV infection and doctors suspected the baby would be infected too, so they decided to give antiretroviral drugs at birth.

Normally the drugs hold the virus in check, but the very early treatment seems to have prevented HIV taking hold.

The baby is now three, has been off drugs for…

View original post 1,839 more words

The best financial advice from 22 big names

Thanks;Rex Crum @mktwcrum&
Follow the Tell @thetellblog
December 28, 2013, 12:23 PM

The end of the year is often a time to take stock and look ahead to the future — and get financial advice.

The Wall Street Journal asked 22 well-known investors and writers for their best piece of advice about money. Some shared advice they gave, while others passed on advice they were given.

Among the [hopeful] pearls of financial wisdom…

“Price yourself high and see what happens.” Humans aren’t good at knowing their market value. — Scott Adams, Creator of ‘Dilbert’ and author of ‘How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big’.

“Invest in what you are doing, show your own confidence in what you are doing.” — Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, chairman of Starr Insurance Holdings and former chairman of American International Group.

“When friends and acquaintances are telling you [that] you are a genius, before you accept their opinion, take a moment to remember what you always thought of their opinions in the past.” — Carl Icahn, activist investor.

“Pay off your debt first. Freedom from debt is worth more than any amount you can earn.” — Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

The entire article, which also includes advice from Charles Schwab, Bill Gross and Robert Shiller, among others, can be found here.

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Russia bombings spark Olympic concerns

Thanks;EDDIE PELLS
December 30, 2013

The bombings in Russia serve as a chilling reminder of what the Winter Olympics represent to terrorists: a high-profile target with more than 2,500 athletes waving the flags of nearly 90 nations.

So, while many Olympic leaders called for calm the day after two bombings about 400 miles from Sochi killed at least 31 people, some of the athletes heading to Sochi spoke of a different reality — their security is never sure thing.

U.S. speedskater Jilleanne Rookard said she was concerned but believes the Russians will have things locked down, if for no other reason than to avoid a national embarrassment.

Russian Olympic leader Alexander Zhukov said the bombings didn’t spark a need for additional security measures because “everything necessary already has been done.”

Medical sciences news highlights of 2013

Thanks;BBC news

With a baby cured of HIV and breakthroughs in dementia, it’s been a year where two of the great scourges of our time have been put on the back foot.

Meanwhile a vision of the future of medicine has emerged, with scientists growing miniature organs -including brains – and performing the first steps of human cloning.

BBC health and science reporter James Gallagher reviews the year in medical science.

HIV baby cure

20131230-145532.jpg

One of the most remarkable stories of the year was a baby girl in the US seemingly being “cured” of HIV.

Her mother had an uncontrolled HIV infection and doctors suspected the baby would be infected too, so they decided to give antiretroviral drugs at birth.

Normally the drugs hold the virus in check, but the very early treatment seems to have prevented HIV taking hold.

The baby is now three, has been off drugs for more than a year and has no sign of infection.

However, as this analysis explains, a cure for HIV is still a distant prospect. Yet there have been other developments – two patients have been taken off their HIV drugs after bone-marrow transplants seemed to clear the virus.

HIV was once thought to be impossible to cure; now there is real optimism in the field.
Post-menopausal pregnancy

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Dr Kazuhiro Kawamura of the St Marianna University medical school holding the newborn
Going through an early-menopause used to be seen as the end of a woman’s reproductive life.

But this year a baby was born after doctors, in the US and Japan, developed a technique to “reawaken” the ovaries of women who had a very early menopause.

They removed a woman’s ovaries, activated them in the laboratory and re-implanted fragments of ovarian tissue.

Any eggs produced were then taken and used during normal IVF.

Fertility experts described the findings as a “potential game-changer”.

However, things will not change for women going through the menopause at a normal age as poor egg quality will still be a major obstacle.
Angelina and Andy

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The cult of celebrity catapulted two diseases into the public eye this year – breast cancer and strokes.

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy after her doctors said she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer during her lifetime.

She has a mutation in her DNA, called BRCA1, which greatly increases the odds of both breast and ovarian cancer.

In a newspaper article she said: “I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity…for any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options.”

BBC presenter Andrew Marr had a stroke after an intensive rowing machine session and a year of “heavily overworking”.

It put a spotlight on the standard of care for stroke patients and raised the question why do healthy people have strokes?

He says he’s “lucky to be alive” and is back presenting, although the stroke has affected “the whole left hand side of my body”.

Lab-grown mini organs

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This purple and green image is of a very special human brain which was grown from skin cells entirely in a laboratory.

The pea-sized “cerebral organoid” is similar to the brain of a nine-week-old foetus.

It has distinct brain regions such as the cerebral cortex, the retina, and an early hippocampus, which would be heavily involved in memory in a fully developed adult brain.

Scientists hope the organoids, This purple and green image is of a very special human brain which was grown from skin cells entirely in a laboratory.

The pea-sized “cerebral organoid” is similar to the brain of a nine-week-old foetus.

It has distinct brain regions such as the cerebral cortex, the retina, and an early hippocampus, which would be heavily involved in memory in a fully developed adult brain.

Scientists hope the organoids, which are not capable of thought, will transform the understanding of the development of the brain and neurological disorders.

And it’s not just brains. Japanese researchers said they were “gobsmacked” at making tiny functioning livers in the same way.

They think transplanting thousands of these liver buds could help to reverse liver failure.

On a larger scale, researchers have made full-sized kidneys for rats which were able to make urine.

Their vision is to take a donor kidney and strip it of all its old cells to leave a honeycomb-like scaffold, which would then be used to build a new kidney out of a patient’s own cells.

Expect more from the “grow-your-own organs” field in the coming years. are not capable of thought, will transform the understanding of the development of the brain and neurological disorders.

And it’s not just brains. Japanese researchers said they were “gobsmacked” at making tiny functioning livers in the same way.

They think transplanting thousands of these liver buds could help to reverse liver failure.

On a larger scale, researchers have made full-sized kidneys for rats which were able to make urine.

Their vision is to take a donor kidney and strip it of all its old cells to leave a honeycomb-like scaffold, which would then be used to build a new kidney out of a patient’s own cells.

Expect more from the “grow-your-own organs” field in the coming years.

Dementia on the back foot

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Loss of tissue in a demented brain compared with a healthy one
Understanding the billions of neurons which make up the human brain, one of the most complex structures in the universe, is one of the greatest challenges in medical science.

This year marked a major breakthrough in defeating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

A team of UK Medical Research Council scientists used a chemical to stop the death of brain cells, in a living brain, that would have otherwise died due to a neurodegenerative disease.

This is a first and a significant discovery. One prominent scientist said this moment would “be judged by history as a turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer’s disease”.

Dementia has also become a major global priority in 2013 amid fears it is rapidly becoming the health and social care problem of a generation.

The G8 group of nations have pledge to fund research aimed at curing the disease by 2025.

It is just one aspect of a flood of money entering brain research.

President Obama has dedicated millions of dollars for mapping the connections in the brain and in Europe the billion pound Human Brain Project to simulate the organ using computers is now under way.

Human cloning

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Human cloning was used to produce early embryos which a group of US scientists described as a “significant step” for medicine.

It has been a long struggle to reach this stage, the same technique was used to produce Dolly the sheep way back in 1996.

No-one is considering attempting to let a cloned embryo develop.

Instead the cloned embryos were used as a source of stem cells, which can make new heart muscle, bone, brain tissue or any other type of cell in the body.

However, it is an ethically charged field of research and there have been calls for a ban.

Meanwhile, the first trial of stem cells produced from a patient’s own body has been approved by the Japanese government.

Scientists will use the cells to attempt to treat a form of blindness – age-related macular degeneration.

And a new era of regenerative medicine could be opened up by transforming tissue inside a living animal back to an embryonic state.

It’s an inherently dangerous thing to do; the tissues became cancerous in the experiments, but if it was controlled then it could be used to heal the body.

A new role for sleep and body clock resets

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Scientists have found a new explanation for why we sleep – for a spot of housework.

As well as being involved in fixing memories and learning, it seems the brain uses sleep to wash away the waste toxins built up during a hard day’s thinking.

They think failing to clear some toxic proteins may play a role in brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s diseases.

Meanwhile, a separate group of researchers think it may be possible to slow the decline in memory and learning as we age by tackling poor sleep.

And there is no doubt about the impact a poor night’s sleep has on the whole body. The activity of hundreds of genes was altered when people’s sleep was cut to less than six hours a day for a week.

Of course you could blame the moon after a “lunar influence” on sleeping patterns was discovered. It showed that the extra light from a full moon makes it harder to sleep.

There may be good news on the horizon for shift workers and jet setters who will be intimately familiar with the pains of having a body clock out of sync with the world around them.

A team at Kyoto University has found the body clock’s “reset button” inside the brain.

They tested a drug which let the body clock rapidly adjust to new timezones, instead of taking days. It brings the prospect of drugs to avoid jet lag much closer.

Deadly infections new and old

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Two new viruses have attracted global attention and concern this year.

A new bird flu, H7N9, emerged in China infecting more than 130 people and causing 45 deaths.

However, most were confined to the beginning of the year when the virus first emerged. Closing live poultry markets in affected areas has largely cut the spread of the virus.

And Saudi Arabia is at the centre of an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. The animal source of the virus has not yet been confirmed, although camels are a likely culprit.

Meanwhile, polio has returned to war-torn Syria for the first time in 14 years.

And in the UK, an outbreak of measles infected 1,200 people – as a result of a drop in vaccination during the completely unfounded MMR-autism scare a decade earlier. The World Health Organization warned Europe risked failing to meet its pledge to eliminate measles by 2015.

Odds, ends and an impotent James Bond

The mobile app in action: Scanning the back of the eye
There were many interesting one-off stories this year too – some serious, some not…

A modified smartphone is being tested in Kenya to see if it can prevent blindness in some of the poorest parts of the world.

Doctors warned that antibiotics were running out and could lead to an “antibiotic apocalypse”.

Scientists claimed a milestone moment for cancer after finding 21 major mutations behind that accounted for 97% of the most common cancers.

There was a shift in understanding psychiatric disorders when it was shown autism, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia all shared several genetic risk factors.

A surgical knife which can sniff out tumours was developed to improve cancer surgery.

The iKnife
New teeth have been grown out of the most unlikely of sources, human urine.

A treatment to banish bald spots is a step closer after human hair was grown in the laboratory, however, there are still engineering challenges to get the hairs the same shape, size and as long as before.

Another thing to blame your parents and grandparents for…behaviour can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory.

A wheelchair was controlled with a pierced tongue.

The UK’s first hand transplant took place in Leeds while in China a severed hand was kept alive on an ankle.

Brain scans showed babies could decipher speech as early as three months before birth.

Lullabies may help sick children by reducing pain and improving their wellbeing.

And finally… James Bond’s sexual prowess was seriously questioned with doctors describing him as an “impotent drunk”.

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Doctors say James Bond, played here by actor Daniel Craig, has a drink problem

On Anniversary Of Apollo 8, How The ‘Earthrise’ Photo Was Made

Thanks;SCOTT NEUMAN
December 23, 2013 4:23 PM

20131224-135740.jpg
The first humans to catch a glimpse of the Earth rising over the moon nearly missed seeing it at all, let alone capturing the snapshot that became one of the most iconic photos of the 20th century.

NASA has released an animation commemorating the 45th anniversary of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to orbit the moon. The famous “Earthrise” photo was taken on Christmas Eve 1968.
http://youtu.be/dE-vOscpiNc

“It really came about by accident,” space author Andrew Chaikin, who narrates the video, tells NPR’s Morning Edition in an interview that will air Tuesday.

Comparing new data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter probe, which has been circling the moon since 2009, with the Apollo 8 astronauts’ photography and Apollo 8’s onboard audio, the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Scientific Visualization Studio has been able to discover just how serendipitous the famous snapshot was.

“It turns out that the only reason the astronauts saw the Earth when they did was because Frank Borman, the mission commander, was in the process of rotating the spacecraft — which was pointing nose down at the moon,” Chaikin tells NPR.

“It just so happens that as they came around, Bill Anders, the rookie on the flight over on the right side of the spaceflight, could see the moon coming up in his window. This had happened three previous times on Apollo 8, but they weren’t in position to see it,” he says.

Aboard Apollo, Anders is the first to see the potential shot: “Oh, my God, look at that picture over there,” he can be heard saying. “There’s the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty!”

But what happened next will sound familiar to anyone who remembers the days before digital cameras:

Anders (to astronaut Jim Lovell): “You got a color film, Jim? Hand me a roll of color, quick, would you?”

Lovell: “Oh, man, that’s great! Where is it?”

Anders: “Hurry. Quick.”

Lovell: “Down here?”

Anders: “Just grab me a color. A color exterior. Hurry up. Got one?”

Lovell: “Yeah, I’m lookin’ for one. C360.”

Anders: “Anything quick.”

Lovell hands him the film just as Anders is heard saying, “I think we missed it.”

But within seconds, Lovell sees the shot again in another window of the command module. He asks for the camera from Anders, who seems a bit defensive at having his role as mission photographer usurped.

Anders: “Wait a minute, just let me get the right setting here now, just calm down. Calm down, Lovell!”

Anders then gets the shot that has been reproduced thousands of times all over the world in the past 45 years.

“It sounds incredible to us to think, ‘Weren’t they looking for [the Earth] when they got to the moon?’ ” Chaikin tells NPR. “But as Bill Anders explained to me many years later, he said, ‘Look, we were trained to go to the moon. We were focused on the moon, observing the moon, studying the moon, and the Earth was not really in our thoughts until it popped up above that horizon.”

Meanwhile, on Monday, Lovell re-enacted another memorable moment from the groundbreaking mission: a Christmas Eve broadcast from lunar orbit. Lovell, Borman and Anders took turns reading from the Book of Genesis.

Lovell ended his re-enactment with the same closing the trio used on Dec. 24, 1968:

“From the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”

My One-Item Christmas List: A Government That Stops Playing Santa

Ideas

Forget a new car, Beats by Dre, or even affordable health care. You know what I really, really, really want for Christmas?

I want a government that spends less money. I’m not alone in such a wish. Even President Obama, who has asked for more and more spending in each of his annual budget proposals, has called the nation’s long-term spending patterns “unsustainable.”

We should be cutting small-ticket, medium-ticket, and big-ticket items, and we can do it in a way that doesn’t kick out Tiny Tim’s crutches or leaves us open to terrorist attacks. But first we need to understand the magnitude of the growth in spending over the past 10 years.

In 2003, the federal government shelled out about $2.2 trillion in nominal dollars. In 2013, it spent about $3.5 trillion. I have trouble figuring out exactly where that extra $1.3 trillion a year is…

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