শনিবার, ১৩ জুলাই, ২০১৩

Haiti's president expected at NAACP convention in Orlando

The Associated Press

Published: July 12, 2013

ORLANDO - Haiti's president is expected to attend the NAACP's national convention at the Orange County Convention Center.

The nation's oldest civil rights organization will mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers at the convention.

The convention opens Saturday and continues through Wednesday. About 4,000 delegates are expected to attend.

Haitian President Michel Martelly and his wife are expected to join other U.S. elected officials joining NAACP members for the convention.

The convention theme is "We Shall Not Be Moved."

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/tbo/pasco/~3/OW9SIaSpom0/

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Miami Beach mayor launches new push to save historic homes

'Real Housewives of Miami' cast member Lisa Hochstein and her husband, plastic surgeon Leonard Hochstein, want to tear down their Star Island mansion.

C.W. Griffin / Miami Herald Staff

The fight to save historic homes in Miami Beach got a boost this week, with the city?s mayor proposing a six-month moratorium on the demolition of architecturally significant homes and preservationists taking to court their battle to save an 88-year-old mansion.

All of this is happening while proposals to provide more protections for historic homes snake their way through various city processes.

Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower has called for the city?s planning board to temporarily stop issuing demolition permits for homes that were built before 1942 and that have notable architectural features. She placed the issue on Wednesday?s regular commission meeting as a referral to the Planning Board.

?I believe this moratorium is important to allow for the review of current and proposed ordinances that would protect against demolition of our historic single-family-home neighborhoods, while allowing time for further incentive programs to be developed in order to preserve more of our existing housing stock,? she wrote in a July?9 memo.

Various city departments and boards have been tinkering with the city?s development laws to come up with ways to encourage people to restore potentially historic homes, rather than tear them down. The city?s Land Use Committee has proposed an ordinance that would provide incentives for retaining architecturally significant homes and limit the kind of construction allowed when such a home is torn down. Commissioners on Wednesday will decide whether to send the proposal to the Planning Board for further review, and to allow that board to make recommendations.

Meanwhile, the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) has appealed the demolition approval of a celebrity couple?s Star Island home to circuit court.

The home, at 42 Star Island, has been at the center of a months-long battle. Owners Leonard Hochstein, a plastic surgeon known as ?The Boob God,? and his wife, Lisa, a cast member of Bravo?s The Real Housewives of Miami, have gotten city permission to tear down the mansion. Preservationists have fought the demolition approval, given by the city?s Design Review Board (DRB.)

MDPL has also filed an application to have the 1925 home, designed by Florida?s first registered architect, historically designated.

Preservationists recently lost an appeal to a city special master and are now asking the courts to weigh in.

The city ?did not adequately evaluate whether it was practical and feasible to repair and retain the home at 42 Star Island,? said MDPL attorney Kent Harrison Robbins. ?If the building can be saved, then that has to be analyzed and considered by the DRB and a new hearing has to be granted.?

An attorney for the Hochsteins didn?t immediately return a request for comment.

Follow @Cveiga on Twitter.

Source: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/11/3495704/miami-beach-mayor-launches-new.html

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Stretch Your Child's Brain: Summer Fun with Executive Functioning ...

Stretch Your Child's Brain: Summer Fun with Executive Functioning?Our doctor just told me that my son has ?executive functioning? disorder,? a mother recently commented. ?What is it? What can I do??

Executive function disorder is an unofficial diagnosis characterized by challenges in following directions, difficulties with planning, organization, and goal-setting, and poor follow-through. Executive functioning challenges are common among people with ADHD, and some experts, including Thomas E. Brown, author of Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind in Children and Adults now think that ADHD is, in fact, primarily a disorder of executive functions.

Helping a child with executive functioning challenges works best when expectations are clear and tasks are taught gradually in a step-by-step fashion. The Smart but Scattered books by Dawson and Guare are an excellent guide to this process.

But building executive functioning skills in your child with ADD is not all hard work. Hey, it?s summer! Let?s explore how building executive functioning skills can also be lots of fun!

LEGOs and blocks

On the Learning Works for Kids blog, Legos are discussed in detail as a tool for building ?the vital thinking skills that can allow them to focus better at school and during other non-play activities. In addition, Legos (like many other types of blocks and construction toys) can be a useful tool for practicing thinking skills such as focus, flexibility and planning. Lego play facilitates a need to adapt to the blocks you have, at some point plan out what you want to make, and have a willingness to persist on the task to completion.? Blocks can be used in a similar way.


Occupational therapist Kelly Balmer suggests that a parent ?build a figurine and have your child build an exact replica in size and color. This works on multiple skills, including initiation, breaking down tasks, sequencing, organization, and attention. If you are unable to build an example, or if you have an older child who enjoys playing independently, there are often ? images online that can be printed.?

Board games

?Board games, puzzles, quizzes and other parlour diversions have a number of common features [with neuropsychological tests] including being rule bound and subject to the play of chance, and requir[ing] various degrees of strategy, planning, and flexibility for their execution,? says neuropsychologist AJ Larner.

Balmer suggests that several games used in the therapeutic setting can also be used at home: Rush Hour, Mastermind, and Connect 4 Stackers, for example. Traditional games such as Monopoly, Clue, chess, puzzles, and Chinese checkers also promote executive skill development. For a wonderful variety of newer games review the list of American Mensa Mind Games winners.


Additionally, Balmer recommends exercising executive functions by involving kids in planning, shopping and cooking a favorite recipe: ?Have your child choose a recipe, ? write a grocery list containing everything needed to prepare that dish, create a list of the necessary cooking supplies and, for older children, have them look up the price of each item at the store and create an estimated budget. If possible, ? take them with you to the grocery store. Older kids, [can] act as the ?head chef? and be responsible for completing most of the cooking. For younger kids, if there are safety concerns, assign specific tasks as their job in the cooking process.?


An anonymous parent on the online DC Urban Moms and Dads forum urges parents to use summer outings as an opportunity to involve kids in stepwise planning of activities: ?Want to go to the farm, let?s plan when a good time to go is, and what we need, and what we want to bake with afterward. Go to Kings Dominion next weekend? What rides should we go on??

Video games

The Learning Works for Kids blog suggests using video games such as Mario Kart Wii, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and New Super Mario Bros. Wii to exercise working memory skills, one of the key executive functions. Building working memory with these games is enhanced by ?repetition? duration? challeng[ing] yourself? and compet[ition].?

Online games

Video games aren?t the only way screen time can build executive functioning skills. Neurocognitive researchers have developed a number of computer games thought to help develop certain specific brain functions such as memory and attention. Here are some online sources of ?brain games? to consider:

Fit Brains



Need more ideas? Learning Works for Kids suggests the following resources for more play activities provide an opportunity to improve thinking skills: Wired magazine?s Geekdad and Geekmom and Melissa Taylor?s Imagination Soup.

Looking for more support in how to help your child develop executive functioning skills? Consider working with an ADHD Coach.


Balmer, K. (2012, November 28). Executive functioning activities at home. [blog post]. Retrieved from http://nspt4kids.com/therapy/executive-functioning-activities-at-home/

?Dr. K.? (2012, August 13). Improving thinking skills with Legos. [blog post]. Retrieved from learningworksforkids.com/2012/08/improving-thinking-skills-with-legos/

Larner, A.J. (2009). The neuropsychology of board games, puzzles and quizzes. ACNR, 9(5), 42. PDF available at ?www.acnr.co.uk/ND09/ACNRND09_board_games.pdf


Dr. Ahmann is an ADHD Coach specializing in work with students, parents, and women. Her blog, titled ADHD and Life Coaching is at www.lizahmann.blogspot.com. For more information about her practice, see her website at www.lizahmann.com. She is available for a free introductory consultation in person or by phone or Skype.

Like this author?
Catch up on other posts by Elizabeth Ahmann, ScD, RN, ACC (or subscribe to their feed).

????Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Jul 2013
????Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Ahmann, E. (2013). Stretch Your Child?s Brain: Summer Fun with Executive Functioning. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 13, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/07/12/stretch-your-childs-brain-summer-fun-with-executive-functioning/


Source: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/07/12/stretch-your-childs-brain-summer-fun-with-executive-functioning/

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বৃহস্পতিবার, ১১ এপ্রিল, ২০১৩

5 Turntables That Will Rock Any Audiophile

Sorry, Readability was unable to parse this page for content.

Source: http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/gadgets/reviews/5-turntables-that-will-rock-any-audiophile?src=rss

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Neutrons help explain ozone poisoning and links to thousands of premature deaths each year

Apr. 9, 2013 ? A research team from Birkbeck, University of London, Royal Holloway University and Uppsala University in Sweden, have helped explain how ozone causes severe respiratory problems and thousands of cases of premature death each year by attacking the fatty lining of our lungs.

In a study published in Langmuir, the team used neutrons from the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble and the UK's ISIS Neutron Source to observe how even a relatively low dose of ozone attacks lipid molecules that line the lung's surface. The presence of the lipid molecules is crucial for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, as they prevent the wet surfaces of the lung from collapsing.

Ozone is mostly produced in the upper atmosphere as the sun's UV light splits oxygen molecules, but it can also form at ground level from burning fossil fuels. It is known to harm our respiratory systems and is linked to asthma, bronchitis, heart attacks, and other cardiopulmonary problems. A recent study published by the Bloomberg School's Department of Environmental Health Sciences found that stricter ozone emission regulations in the US could prevent over a thousand premature deaths and over a million complaints of respiratory problems each year [1].

However, it remains unclear how exactly ozone causes this damage. One theory is it attacks the lung's surface layers which consist of a layer of water sitting below a mixture of fatty molecules called lipids and proteins that are together known as lung surfactant. The surfactant aids the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide during breathing. It does this by reducing surface tension, i.e. the attraction that molecules feel for each other, in the liquid surface layer above, causing these fluids to spread out and provide a greater surface area for gas exchange.

Critically, a lack of adequate surfactant, a deficiency often found naturally in babies born prematurely, can produce similar respiratory health complaints to those mentioned above, even resulting in death in some cases.

This link was further established in 2011 by the same team from Birkbeck who demonstrated that ozone reacted very strongly with the lipid layer, damaging it. However, what exactly is going on and how these reactions might impede the surfactant from doing its job was still unclear.

To investigate further Dr Katherine Thompson from Birkbeck and her team ran neutron reflection studies at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble and ISIS Neutron Source in Oxfordshire on an artificial lipid monolayer, created to mimic the lung surface. The lipid layer was exposed to a dilute gaseous mixture of ozone, and changes in its structure or surface tension were studied in real time. The concentration of ozone was around 100 parts per billion (0.1 ppm), equivalent to what you might get in a polluted city in the summer.

The use of neutrons meant that Dr Thompson could label different parts of the sample using deuteration, a process whereby a heavier isotope of hydrogen, deuterium, is introduced and contrasted with undeuterated samples to pick out the location of hydrogen atoms. This allowed them to monitor different parts of the molecule separately as they reacted with the ozone.

Using this technique Dr Thompson's team showed that one of the lipid's upwards-facing tails, known as the C9 portion, breaks off during the ozone degradation and is lost from the surface completely. The portion still attached to the lipid head then re-orientates itself and penetrates into the air?water interface. The loss of the C9 portion causes an initial decrease in surface tension which temporarily increases surface area for gas exchange and efficient respiration. However this effect is short-lived as the penetration of the rest of the molecule into the water results in a slow but pronounced rise in surface tension, producing an overall net increase.


1. Health Benefits from Large-Scale Ozone Reduction in the United States -- Berman et all, Oct 2012

2. Royal Holloway is one of the UK's leading universities. We have a distinguished history of world-changing research and innovative teaching, with an international outlook. Our close-knit community enables students to benefit from a personalised experience, with staff collaborating across facilities to enhance health, science, culture and security on a global scale. Set in 135 acres of parkland in Surrey, our campus is recognised as one of the most beautiful in the world, and the pioneering spirit of our founders continues to inspire teaching and research today.

3. Birkbeck, University of London, is a world-class research and teaching institution, a vibrant centre of academic excellence and London's only specialist provider of evening higher education.Our flexible approach attracts many non-traditional students and we offer them the opportunity to fit university studies around busy lives. Birkbeck encourages applications from students without traditional qualifications and it has a wide range of programmes to suit every entry level.18,000 students study at Birkbeck every year. They join a community that is as diverse and cosmopolitan as London's population.

4. About ILL and ISIS -- the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble and ISIS at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK are international research centres which have led the world in neutron scattering science and technology. They operate intense neutron sources, feeding beams of neutrons to a suites of 30 to 40 high-performance instruments that are constantly upgraded. Each year 1,200 researchers from over 40 countries visit each of ISIS and ILL to conduct research into condensed matter physics, (green) chemistry, biology, nuclear physics, and materials science. The UK, along with France and Germany is an associate and major funder of the IL; ISIS is owned and operated by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council.

5. STFC -- The Science and Technology Facilities Council is keeping the UK at the forefront of international science and tackling some of the most significant challenges facing society such as meeting our future energy needs, monitoring and understanding climate change, and global security. The Council has a broad science portfolio and works with the academic and industrial communities to share its expertise in materials science, space and ground-based astronomy technologies, laser science, microelectronics, wafer scale manufacturing, particle and nuclear physics, alternative energy production, radio communications and radar.

The next step for Katherine and her colleagues is to look at adapting the model, to represent the condition of people with various forms of chronic respiratory problem and attempt to understand why ozone seems to affect them worse than others.

Dr Katherine Thompson, Birkbeck, University of London said: "We are not completely sure what causes the second stage of tension increase. The damaged lipid might be slowly dissolving in the water and leaving the interface entirely, or a slow reaction might be occurring that is damaging another part of the lipid not directly attacked by ozone. What we can say is that the slow increase in surface tension that occurs as a result of the ozone exposure would certainly damage the ability of our lungs to process oxygen and carbon dioxide, and could account for the respiratory problems associated with ozone poisoning."

Dr Martin King from Royal Holloway University said: "This important study shows how a key air pollutant has a detrimental effect on the human lung and could impair breathing. It is essential that a complex mixture of air pollutants -- for example Ozone and nitrogen oxides -- and the effect of inhaled particulate matter on the lung, is looked at next."

Dr Richard Campbell from the Institut Laue-Langevin said: "Neutrons are an ideal tool for studying biological materials, particularly their reactions and interactions on surfaces and across interfaces. They are highly sensitive to lighter atoms such as carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that make up these organic molecules and isotopic labelling can be used to determine the structure and composition of interfacial layers. As one of the world's brightest neutron sources, the ILL has a long history of modelling important micro-scale processes that take place inside our bodies and providing ground-breaking insights that inform the next generation of treatments."

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Royal Holloway, University of London, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/top_news/~3/P39my8Nuvq4/130409211934.htm

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Testimony expected on casinos in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Casino and racetrack supporters made their case Wednesday for allowing Texans to vote on a constitutional amendment to expand gambling, promising billions in new revenues and thousands of jobs.

But the biennial push to allow casinos in Texas still faces an uphill battle with some conservatives insisting that Texas remain one of only 10 states that ban such facilities. The Republican Party of Texas platform also opposes any expansion of gambling and calls for the repeal of the Texas State Lottery.

Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, said the constitutional amendment he introduced is designed to bring together casino operators, racetrack owners and American Indian tribes that have worked against each other in the past while addressing the concerns of those who oppose all gambling.

Carona said he thinks Texas voters should get a chance to vote on the measure, which would limit the locations of 21 casinos.

"I'm Southern Baptists and I don't gamble, but I like to go to Las Vegas for the shows," Carona said, emphasizing the tourism possibilities. "We put everything into the constitutional amendment so that the only way we can change it is if the people of Texas come back and Texans voted again on the issue."

The proposal would allow one casino each in Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio with three additional casinos along the coast. Three racetracks in Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston could operate casinos, and nine small race tracks could apply for licenses to operate casinos or slot machines.

The three federally recognized American Indian tribes in Texas would also each have a casino license. The amendment would only allow two casinos per county and no more than three in a major metropolitan area.

The state would tax gambling revenue at 20 percent, unless the operator invested more than $1 billion, and then the rate would be 15 percent. At least 85 percent of tax revenue would go to reduce property taxes, the city and county would get 5 percent each, and the remaining 5 percent would be spent to prosecute gambling-related crime and help people with gambling addictions.

Supporters say their market research indicates Texas residents spend almost $3 billion in Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico visiting casinos, and that the Chickasaw tribe has built the second largest casino complex in the nation just across the Red River to serve the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

They told the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on Wednesday that spending on convention centers and casinos could bring $8.5 billion in economic growth and 75,000 jobs to Texas.

Andy Abboud, representing the Las Vegas Sands Corp., said his company would invest in "integrated resorts" that generate revenue from conventions, dining and shopping in addition to gambling. He said the company's resorts dedicate less than 3 percent of total floor space to casinos, which serve as one of many amenities to convention goers.

"It's what they can do at the end of the day that makes a convention successful," said Abboud, who added that only 39 percent of his company's revenue in Las Vegas is from gambling. "Texas is one of the last great opportunities left in the world."

Most horse breeders have moved out of the state because Texas only offers $20 million in purses a year, while Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma offer $210 million, said Andrea Young, president of Sam Houston Race Park, a horse track in Houston.

"Texas tracks need casino gambling for one reason, in order to compete with tracks in adjacent states," she said.

But others said lawmakers should not be persuaded by the promise of new hotels and convention centers.

"You didn't hear one person talking about the games," said Rob Kohler, representing the Christian Life Commission, which opposes gambling.

Melinda Fredricks, vice chairwoman of the Republican Party of Texas, read from party platform, "We oppose the expansion of legalized gambling and encourage the repeal of the Texas State Lottery." She said any attempt to allow voters to decide the issue was "a veiled attempt to pass the buck."

The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation issued a statement saying that the proposed limit on the number of casino licenses was anti-competitive and warned against the hidden social and legal costs of gambling.

Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, also warned that while he supported the measure, he knew some Democrats would oppose the measure because of possible negative economic and social consequences.

Carona promised to work with all groups to craft a better version of the resolution. It needs a two-thirds majority in the Senate and House before it can go before voters.


Senate Joint Resolution 64: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&Bill=SJR64

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/testimony-expected-casinos-texas-180329026.html

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Is tax reform on the table? ? Business Management Daily: Free ...

In a speech made to Congress in January, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson?head of the office within the IRS that is charged with assisting taxpayers?cited the need for comprehensive tax reform as the main problem facing taxpayers today. She also focused on inadequate funding of the IRS and taxpayer identity theft issues. ?The existing tax code makes compliance difficult, requiring taxpayers to devote excessive time to preparing and filing their returns,? Olson said.

According to the report, Congress has made nearly 5,000 changes to the tax code since 2001. To reduce taxpayer burden and restore public confidence, Olson urged Congress to overhaul the tax code.

Access information and other materials relating to this report here.

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