For the first time in Costa Rica, women who love sport fishing will go to sea in a world-class event to compete for the title of Best International Fisherwoman during the Billfish Championship. Registration for the tournament took place today, and competition will take place Friday and Saturday at Marina Pez Vela in Quepos, on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast.On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Marina will award a trophy for the team winner and for each of its participants in each category, which include sailfish, tuna and dorado.Teams will compete for cash prizes as well.“After all the sailfish releases, a verification is made by means of videos… tuna and dorado species will be weighed by the officials of the Marina Pez Vela,” said Jeff Duchesneau, general manager of Marina Pez Vela. “The fisherwoman who gets more points at the end of the two fishing days will be crowned as the best in the world.”The Marina expects approximately 30 to 40 teams in the tournament, with fisherwomen from Costa Rica, the United States, Panama, Mexico, Angola and Canada. Teams have at least two members, with a maximum of five.In addition to the main tournament, Marina Pez Vela will have other activities on Feb. 22 and 23, such as a party to start the event, activities on the docks on the second day and a white party for the award.The Pescadora Billfish Championship is sponsored by Costa Rica Vacations, Costa del Mar, Hatteras, Fishing Tease.com, Tournament Yacht Sales, Tackle Shop Quepos, Knot Working Charters, Gray Taxidermy, Premium Marine, Squid Nation, Fishing Vacations, and others.For more information, visit the tournament website. This article was sponsored by Marina Pez Vela. Facebook Comments Related posts:More than 20 boats competing in Tico waters eyeing Quepos Billfish Cup title Marina Pez Vela: Luxury and authenticity in one Fishing for the next generation in Quepos First sail on a fly Open doors, bright lights: Marina Pez Vela’s community outreach in Quepos
UK cabler Virgin Media has launched a Dark Knight Rises app on its TiVo service.Virgin Media has teamed with the movie’s producer, Warner Bros, to launch the app, which gives fans video and background content ahead of the film’s general release on Friday.
The reason a dog has so many friends is he wags his tail and not his tongue. (Unknown) Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are a wonderful person. (Ann Landers) If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise. (Unknown) And my favorite: There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. (Ben Williams) Until next week… Eight percent is not good news. Last week I shared some reader feedback from our inflation survey, and in case you missed it, the Money Forever Reader Poll Inflation Rate is 8%. But what does that number really mean for us – seniors and savers trying to protect our buying power? It’s time to read the tea leaves and find out.Up to Your Ass in Alligators You may remember the old poster that read, “When you are up to your ass in alligators, it’s tough to remember the goal was to drain the swamp.” You may have felt overwhelmed during the last few years, as the investment options for your retirement portfolio changed. You might read about the benefits of gold and silver one day, then CDs, dividend-paying stocks, and annuities the next. It’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed, particularly when you cannot afford to put too much of your life savings at risk. One of our readers really drove home the challenges we all face: “Anyone who has been living on SS checks since 2000 will tell you the same thing. They cannot live on those checks alone, and [have] depended on the interest they receive from their savings accounts or CDs. They cannot do this any longer. They now need to withdraw principal or redeem some CDs just to make ends meet. … [We are] on fixed incomes with no hope of getting a raise. These people understand the effects of inflation more than any other group. These people live with fear every day, understanding they have little control over their financial future, while watching their life savings slowly vanish every year.” Of the readers who responded to our poll, 1.6% think the inflation rate is 2% or less. On the flip side, the remaining 98.4% must think the government is lying (or in need of a new statistician). My dear friend Toots, whom I often quote, wrote, “Did we prove once again the world is not flat?” Perhaps, but there’s more to it. Certainly, I’ve made that point before, but that doesn’t negate the need to highlight these phony government numbers. We shouldn’t accept falsehoods with a nod and a wink; that’s how they become immutable “facts” of life in many people’s minds. Some folks want to debate the methodology used by Shadow Government Statistics, but that misses the point. The bottom line is: 98.4% of us agree that the real inflation rate is higher than the rate reported by the BLS. That is the reality of our readers – at the grocery store, the gas pump, and today at the flower shop (gentlemen, don’t forget roses for your sweetheart). Anyone living on a fixed income already knows this. The real issue is that we are getting squeezed! At least, 98.4% of us think so. There’s no need to dwell on whether it’s 6%, 7% or 8%, etc. What really matters is how this affects your life. If the price of my favorite snack doubled, and the price of broccoli dropped 50%, my costs are rising. The price of broccoli could drop 99%, and I still wouldn’t buy it. While planning for retirement, most of us planned for a 2% inflation rate and anticipated earning 6% on our portfolio. That was a nice retirement plan while it lasted, but it won’t do much good for anyone now. Another old-line “rule” was: a retiree could safely use 4% of his portfolio every year to supplement Social Security, and still be fine for the rest of his life. Where did the math come from? If your portfolio grew 6% every year and you took out 4%, the remaining 2% covered any loss to inflation. It was really that simple, and it worked just fine for me in my early retirement years. We have all heard the old rule, “Live off the interest and never touch the principal.” That is exactly what we were doing, while also protecting that principal from inflation. Now comes the scary part. If the real rate of inflation is anywhere near the Money Forever Reader Poll Inflation Rate of 8%, how much can we take out of our portfolio every year without losing buying power? The math is still simple, but with a frightening answer: nothing, unless you earn more than 8%. The problem is easy to understand, but the solution is tough to implement. If we want that same 4% to supplement our Social Security checks, we need to earn 12% on our portfolio every year – 8% for inflation and 4% for income. And this does not even factor in taxes. Those of us with a traditional IRA who are over 70.5 years old are required to take a minimum distribution, which can come with a nice tax bill. Imagine that you have a $1 million portfolio, and your goal is to keep up with the Money Forever Reader Poll Inflation Rate and earn 4% income to supplement your Social Security checks. That’s $120,000. To maintain a somewhat conservative posture, we recommend 30-33% of your portfolio be in cash, which pays little if any interest; let’s assume cash pays 0% for the moment. That means you must earn 17.1% on the remaining $700,000 to reach your goal of $120,000. That return can come in the form of an income check, dividends, and stock appreciation. Whatever the source, that’s a pretty tall order. And it’s particularly daunting when you consider that anyone close to retirement age should make minimal high-risk investments. We can’t bet it all on a speculative stock, hoping to catch the next Internet startup success story.Finding the Strength to Strangle the Nemean Lion The Money Forever team is on the lookout for solid companies that not only pay dividends, but also have a history of regular dividend increases. In the last quarter, three of the stocks in the Money Forever portfolio increased their dividends. It is highly unlikely that most of us will live long enough to see our dividends equal 50% of our investment (which is what Warren Buffett receives from Coca-Cola, according to what I’ve read). However, if a company is currently paying 4%, it won’t take too long to see an 8% yield. Once our dividend yield is at or above the inflation rate, we can factor in appreciation and start gaining ground on the inflation monster once again. While dividend-paying stocks will get us on the right track, there’s still more work ahead. Dividends alone are not enough; we also need stock appreciation. If you subscribe to our premium publications, it may be a good time to review our special report, Money Every Month, where we discuss this in great detail. As of today, over half of the stocks in our portfolio have double-digit gains. While we are proud of what we have accomplished to date, we also understand that the current market could change any minute. We have to remain vigilant. Stocks with a long history of increasing their dividends plus a good history of appreciation are hot tickets. Perhaps this is part of the reason why the stock market is doing so well in a tough economy. Alternative sources of income can also help. Two of our recent Money Forever premium issues focused on annuities and reverse mortgages. Under the right circumstances, as we outline in our reports, these can be valuable alternatives for filling your cash-flow gap. Nevertheless, please consider all of the risks and cautionary tales included in our reports before purchasing an annuity or signing a reverse mortgage. One seemingly simple mistake – like neglecting to put your spouse on a reverse mortgage – can be devastating. So can it be done? Can we really build a portfolio that will stand up against the current rate of inflation? Sure; but we have to stay on top of our investments and continue to educate ourselves. “Set it and forget it” won’t work.From the Stadium to the Golf Course For many of us, cutting back on expenses is very difficult. It can feel like part of our retirement dream is going up in smoke. We have friends who planned to take summer and winter cruises every year after they retired. They thought they had the money to do it, but now they have to cut back. They do not enjoy their driving trip to the local state park nearly as much as they do a cruise. One of the respondents to our survey mentioned that he cut back on golf from three days to two days a week. Our good friend Phil addressed his golf situation in a unique manner. For several years he had volunteered during spring training for a major league baseball team. Then the local golf course advertised for part-time help. He inquired; the job sounded like fun, and he negotiated complimentary greens fees as part of his package. For him it is the best of both worlds. Now he has a little extra income, his golf expenses are radically reduced, and he still is able to golf regularly, something he really enjoys. And yes, the baseball team is going to have to recruit another free laborer. Somehow, I think they’ll manage! I’m realizing we all have to come to grips with the reality described by our reader at the beginning of today’s article. While it may be difficult for all of us, we are old enough to know that putting things off only makes problems get worse faster. It’s like our own personal fiscal cliff, but we can’t keep running the printing press and ignoring the real problem. My oldest daughter, also a baby boomer, went to a class on personal financial management about ten years ago. I asked her what she thought the biggest lesson was. Her response surprised me: “The first thing to deal with is your expectations. If you want a lot of stuff, and currently do not have the income to pay for it, you must find ways to increase your income. If that is not possible, then you must learn to adjust your lifestyle and be happy with what you have, living within your means. Dad, they stressed that part of being truly happy is the realization that your neighbor may have more or less than you do and it makes no difference. Personal financial management is as much an adjustment of your attitude as it is an adjustment of your spending habits.” In retrospect, that class had a major effect on her life. She is a grandmother now, and she and her husband have a truly happy family. I believe it was philosopher William James who said, “Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes.” That sentiment certainly rings true. OK, you get the point, but you may not like it. Neither do I, and neither do the millions of our peers in the same predicament. So what should we do? To start with, everything I just mentioned, which is quite a task. Become an active investor, learn, and adjust to the new market. We must protect our nest eggs and look for solid income opportunities. We must look at our spending habits and see where we can cut back. Every dollar we save takes a little pressure off our portfolio and the need for it to produce income. Also, don’t discount finding other sources of income. Write the book you’ve been dreaming about – turn your hobbies into a profit. I have a buddy who worked in the auto industry. Dealers often sell a car they do not have in inventory if there is one at a nearby dealer they can trade for. He set up a business helping dealers move vehicles around. He loves it because he stays active, and he says he had to learn zero new skills. His comment was, “Where else can I get a part-time job where I get paid to drive around listening to a ball game?” You, dear readers, drove home the point for me with your feedback to our survey. If we need 12% or so to protect our nest eggs, then we all have to accept that challenge. If we have a really good year, we can grow our nest eggs and increase our buying power. If we fall short, we must keep erosion to a minimum. The last time I ran a retirement-planning computer program, it said I would be fine as long as I passed away before age 125. In a bad year that may slip to 115. We are all in this together, and I’m committed to making sure Miller’s Money Forever lives up to its name. One final thought… My overriding point is that we have to take control of our retirement finances. Like I said earlier, the days of “set it and forget it” are gone. The upside here is that we can actually secure our retirement. Together with thousands of subscribers to Money Forever premium issues and special reports, we’re doing just that. And with Money Forever, we’re not just talking about stocks and investments, although those are important. We’re exploring other financial topics as well. For example, in last month’s issue we took a close look at real-estate investing and REITs. With some help from Dr. Ron Christner, one of the country’s foremost real-estate experts, we explored how retirees can invest in real estate without taking on a second career. And for our subscribers who are still working, we outlined how to select the right mutual fund from your employer-sponsored plan. In this month’s issue – due out on February 19 – we’re showing our subscribers how to choose the right financial advisor. You won’t want to miss out. I invite you to give Money Forever a risk-free try with our 100% Money Back Guarantee. Try it for 90 days (that’s three new issues, all of the monthly issues in our archives, plus our library of special reports), and if you find you have to cancel, that’s fine. Just call or email and get 100% of your money back during your first 90 days. We earn our keep at Money Forever. Click here to find out more about our story and how you can get started today… and be on the list for this month’s issue on financial advisors.On the Lighter Side I have to thank my editor, Ann, who slipped in the earlier comment about remembering roses. Today is Valentine’s Day. In my previous life, I trained adults for over 35 years, so you can imagine the funny stories I heard throughout my career. One of my students shared a story about the absolute wrong thing to do on Valentine’s Day: It was Valentine’s Day morning and I was in a hurry. It was a typical workday – coffee, piece of toast, quick glance at the morning paper, and out the door. I went to kiss my wife goodbye and she asked, “Do you know what today is?” I had no clue, and the first thing that popped out of my mouth was, “Pitchers and catchers have to report to spring training.” That was not the right answer. I compounded my problem by grabbing the sports section and showing the article to my wife. So she grabbed the paper and showed me the front page with a big Valentine on it. Later that evening, I came home from work with a card, flowers, and a huge box of candy. It didn’t get me out of the doghouse. The pork and beans I got for dinner were as cold as the reception when I sheepishly forked over the gifts. This student did mention that he has never, ever forgotten a Valentine’s Day since. And finally… Last week I mentioned that many readers shared stories about how the price of pet food is increasing. Our friend Phil sent along some wonderful sayings about dogs, which of course many folks look to for unconditional love. My dog is worried about the economy, because Alpo is up 99 cents a can. That’s almost $7 in dog money. (Joe Weinstein) The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog. (Ambrose Bierce)
Yes, I know that there are some churches and individual Christians who don’t approve of war, but a huge wing of Christianity in the US has put itself in service to a warfare state. Listening to them, you’d think that Christianity and war were natural bedfellows. If you’ve spent time in Red State America, you know what I mean. Please understand that I am not endorsing the Blue State line of crap either (I reject both wings of the Party), but that’s not my subject today. Red State Protestants have given themselves over to “the virtues of defense,” seemingly without limit. They endlessly laud cops, firemen, and especially soldiers: anyone authorized by the state to use force. State force has become unquestionably righteous – especially if it is overseas. To these people, the US military can do no wrong. This involves killing strangers, you understand… by Christians… people whose Holy Book say that they should love the outsider, turn the other cheek, and that every government belongs to the Devil. Red State Religion as a Mix of Christianity and War Philosophy Red State Christianity has become a State Religion, a Warfare Religion. So, since “judgment begins at the house of God,” let’s be harsh: These churches are sucking up to the state for tax breaks, to follow a popular course, and to get lots and lots of members. It’s the new successful pattern, and they are following it without hesitation… to the point where they invent reasons to justify the killing of children. (“Collateral damage,” that is, not “killing.”) A huge number of Red State churches have become whores to the US military culture, paying endless obeisance to uniformed state agents. According to them, all agents of the state are noble, are to be respected, and are most definitely to be obeyed without question. (Tell that to Sam Adams or Tom Jefferson!) All opinions to the contrary are discarded, condemned or ridiculed, without serious consideration. This War Christianity is definitely at odds with the New Testament, which treats both war and state as barbaric relics. I am not, by the way, opposed to stopping actual killers. What I am opposed to is telling someone to kill another person that he knows nothing about, guided by a superstition that “we’re automatically the good guys.” And yes, I know that no one, in the midst of fire and confusion, has enough skill to avoid accidentally shooting an innocent. My complaint is with worshiping a government that places 18 year old boys in that position. These kids are being told to kill strangers, without any real evidence that the people they kill deserve it. Is “because a politician said so” really sufficient? These boys are coming home in pieces, or with pieces missing – and committing suicide in droves – for what? To magically turn Afghanistan into a western state? Does anyone seriously think that will happen? And as someone who cares about history and theology, I am especially opposed to Jesus’ name being abused – yet again – by credentialed shepherds who are devoted – first and foremost – to gathering the largest flock possible, while not giving a damn that distant brown people die. At this point in American history we are being treated to a continuing and twisted spectacle: Defenders of indiscriminate death pretending that they care about “love.” They lie. So says me and so says John the Apostle. Let me be clear about this: Christianity is an anti-state religion. It always was. So was the Judaism that came before it. All arguments to the contrary are fallacious, at least if we are to take the Bible as a serious reference. But it will change… Sooner or later, some American Christians will remember that theirs is an anti-state religion. It will doubtless begin with meetings in living rooms, barns and job sites, and will include a lot of good and talented young people. But they will make themselves despised outsiders, opposed by the current generation of Christian leaders, who have dedicated themselves to the state and haven’t any inclination to admit their errors. In other words, the new, honest Christians will become the next link in a long and proud chain of heretics. They will be brave and committed people who are right, while all the institutions are wrong. Are we really to believe that there is virtue in sending machines to rain indiscriminate death upon foreign people… at funerals? (Look it up!) Must we really defend repetitive torture as being righteous? Now, to be honest, the Red State Christians don’t say these things. Actually, they avoid facing them altogether. And that is the problem. Many of them have become, as Jesus’ friend Simon Peter said, “willingly ignorant.” The US war machine is killing and torturing, and American preachers are straining their every muscle to thank them for it, in the name of Christ. I’ve read Jesus’ words too many times to be suckered by this game, and I don’t think Jesus is pleased with it either. Let’s hope that some young Christians can pull their act together and do better than the generation that preceded them. War and Christianity don’t belong together. They never have and they never will. Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.com Christianity and War: Do they go together?
The explosion of deaths related to opioid misuse has underscored a pressing need for better ways of treating pain, especially chronic pain.Duquesne University pharmacology associate professor Jelena Janjic thinks she’s on to one. It involves using a patient’s own immune system to deliver non-opioid pain medication to places in the body where there’s pain.Janjic’s idea, which draws from the field of cancer research, is to insert tiny amounts of over-the-counter pain medications into minute carriers called nanoparticles, and then inject these into pain patients. The medicines would then travel through the body to places where there is inflammation, and relieve the pain.Janjic has a special reason for wanting to develop new medicines for chronic pain: She suffers from it herself.”As a patient, I want an answer,” she says. “I want to figure out this.”There’s no question that the need for better, non-addictive medications is real and urgent. Researchers have come up with some ideas, but so far none has made it to market. Finding new treatments is difficult for any disease and it’s proving especially difficult for chronic pain because the underlying causes are poorly understood.Attempting to modulate inflammation as way to treat pain “is an active area of research,” says Michael L. Oshinsky, Program Director, Pain and Migraine, at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.Oshinsky says Janjic’s idea of targeting the immune system with nanoparticles carrying pain relievers makes sense, although he cautions that the relationship between inflammation and pain is not well understood.Janjic’s path to this research began in 2010. She has a doctorate in medicinal chemistry, and she had recently moved to Duquesne University where she had set up a lab focused on using nanomedicine techniques to treat cancer.What seemed like out of nowhere, of the blue, she started to suffer bouts of severe pain.”The one that hit me real hard was the whole body, from head to toe,” she says. “I’ve had on and off chronic pain since I was a teenager, but this was different.”In August that year, just before her students arrived back to school, she ended up in the emergency room with pain that was almost intolerable.The doctors’ diagnosis was discouraging. They told her she had a chronic pain syndrome. They said there wasn’t much they could do about it, and they said it was for life.The medicines they gave her helped with the pain somewhat, but left her feeling like she was living in a fog. She was having trouble remembering things, trouble taking notes.”Things were weird. So I decided I am going to do research on myself,” Janjic says.To control her own pain, she turned to mindfulness meditation and other non-medical interventions, including composing music and playing the piano. It’s not as if the pain magically went away, she says, but she was able to carry on with her life. Some days were worse than others.But she also wanted to find a medical solution.She made one important treatment decision early on: She didn’t want to take opioids for her pain.”At the time I could have got them very easily,” Janjic says. “I said, ‘What are you going to give me when I’m 67, or 87, if I take them now?’ I knew they don’t work long-term very well. So almost the refusal of opioids precipitated everything else that happened.”Looking for alternatives to opioids, she dove into the scientific literature, to learn all she could about chronic pain.Chronic pain syndromes are not well understood. With acute pain, it’s usually possible to identify the cause—an injury of some sort, or inflammation caused by an infection. Chronic pain may be linked to an initial mishap, but may persist long after the initial cause of the pain has disappeared. Sometimes there’s no good explanation of the pain at all, a frustrating circumstance for both doctor and patients.In addition to her research, Janjic started paying close attention to her own condition.”I started to understand that my body was actually inflamed,” she says.Inflammation occurs when our bodies’ immune system tries to deal with some damage, maybe from an invading virus or bacteria, and sends a barrage of immune cells to the affected area. On the one hand this is a good thing, since the cells fight the infection. But on the other, it can stimulate nerve cells in a particular part of the body, causing pain.Janjic also noticed something important about her pain: it varied both in intensity and in location. Sometimes it was in her knees, sometimes in her shoulders.She says none of the medicines available today responded to pain’s “diversity within the body.””I [started] to understand the fluctuation,” she says.She realized that the fluctuation meant more immune cells were going to the part of the body where the pain was. She figured if she could get pain medicine into immune cells, that medicine would ride with those cells to where it was needed.Before she got into pain research, Janjic was working on something called cancer nanomedicine. Cancer nanomedicines work by putting anti-cancer drugs into tiny containers called nanoparticles, and then injecting them into cancer patients, where they enter the patients’ immune cells.”So what did I already know how to do? Mess with the immune system with nanomedicines,” Janjic says. “And that’s how the idea of pain nanomedicine was born.”After many years of tinkering, she’s started to get positive results. In a recently published study, she showed that when researchers put a nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drug into a nanoparticle, and then injected that into a rat, it reduced the rat’s pain.Janjic says her approach doesn’t try to disable the immune cells.”You still want them to fight infection, you still want them to do what they’re supposed to do,” she says. “But we almost try to stop them from going into override and causing chronic pain.”Janjic, who is also the founder and co-director of the Chronic Pain Research Consortium at Duquesne University, is collaborating with several labs to try pairing different pain medications with different kinds of nano-particles to see what works best. So far progress is slow. And if one of the candidates shows real promise it will be years before anything can be tested in human patients and ultimately approved by the FDA.Janjic credits her own experience with pain for helping her gain a better understanding of pain and how to treat it. She thinks researchers would learn a lot from routinely talking to the people they’re trying to help.”My take home message is, ‘Ask the patient first,’ ” Janjic says. “Ask the kid who’s ten. Ask the grandpa with rheumatoid arthritis what that feels like. This is what I really want to see flourish. Maybe this already happening somewhere. If it is, I want to know. If you are inspiring your research this way, then I want to talk to you.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
The new co-leader of the Green party has told Disability News Service (DNS) that he will make support for inclusive education a key focus of his new role.Jonathan Bartley was elected alongside Caroline Lucas (pictured with Bartley) last week to lead the party in a job-share arrangement.And he revealed that he first spoke to Lucas at a parliamentary lobby in January last year against the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), when he talked to her about his passion for disability issues.Bartley is a long-standing campaigner for inclusive education, and a former chair of the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education.He first secured significant public attention shortly before the 2010 general election when he challenged Conservative leader David Cameron in front of television cameras on the Tory manifesto pledge to “end the bias towards the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools”.He joined the Green party soon after that meeting.Bartley was only able to stand for leader on a job share basis because of his caring responsibilities for his 14-year-old disabled son, Samuel, who was pictured next to his father in the 2010 footage.He told DNS that the Greens’ commitment to inclusive education was the reason he had joined the party, and he pointed to the huge number of disabled pupils now being excluded from schools, both those that showed up in official statistics and those in which young disabled people were excluded from mainstream schools “by the back door”.And he said he welcomed the “emphatic” and “absolutely wonderful” guidance published late last month by the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, which stresses that all segregated education should end, and should be replaced by “inclusive classroom teaching in accessible learning environments with appropriate supports”.He said the government’s policies to create more special school places were being carried out “under the guise of choice, but more and more parents are not experiencing that choice but are being pushed into segregated education”.Bartley said he hoped that his party’s election of co-leaders would increase the momentum towards allowing job-share MPs, something many disabled people are campaigning for.He said: “This is why we have done it. [We want to see] a more inclusive form of politics.“Civil service actively practices [job-sharing]. It is happening in the charity sector. Political parties in Germany have done it for decades.“I have responsibilities at home that I want to fulfil and I am passionate about the issues. The only way I can bring that experience to politics is through a job share.”But he said it would be “a battle” to secure the change in the law necessary to allow job-share MPs because “people are waiting to see what happens” with the Greens’ experiment.Bartley also defended his party’s position on assisted suicide, which although it is supported by some disabled people, is fiercely opposed by the disabled people’s movement.He acknowledged that his party’s support for legalisation of assisted suicide had been raised as a concern by disabled campaigners.He said: “I think we need to listen to it. I have heard people say they don’t support the Green Party because of it.”He said he supported the party’s position “provided all the appropriate safeguards are in place”, but he suggested that legalisation was difficult to justify in a climate of austerity in which disabled people’s support was being cut.He said: “In the context of cuts and misery when we seem to be going backwards in disability rights I can entirely understand why people have concerns.“It’s about showing that it can’t work and that there will be pressure [on people to ask to take their own lives].”Speaking before the launch of Inclusion London’s report on the impact of the ILF closure, he said that the decision to abolish the fund was inevitably going to lead to cuts in support, which was what the report showed.Although his son – who has been ill in hospital for four weeks – was never an ILF recipient, the family do receive direct payments to fund his support, and he said: “I know what it’s like to battle against a social worker who should be your ally and your champion… they are under huge pressure to cut budgets.”One of the themes of the speech he and Lucas delivered after they were elected as co-leaders was the need to “take back control”, which he said was a key concern for disabled people, who are often too scared to speak out against their local authority about their social care.He said: “They are fearful and they are scared, they feel they have no control.”He said the Greens were the only party to oppose the closure of the ILF at the last election and pledge to reopen it, and he backed all of the report’s recommendations, including a new national, needs-led system, independent of local authorities, to administer independent living support, which would be free at the point of delivery and funded by taxation.He also backed the call for the government’s ILF grant – it has pledged to provide non-ring-fenced funding to local authorities in England until 2019-20 – to be ring-fenced for former ILF recipients and for that to continue until a national, independent social care system could be set up.Speaking at the Inclusion London meeting, which was held as part of the Rights Not Games week of action organised by Disabled People Against Cuts, he said he was scared by watching his son’s fight for the support he needs, and added: “You’re going to be a prisoner in your own home [and] I fear that’s what’s going to happen to my son.”He also secured a pledge from Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, to write to Labour-run local authorities to ask them to ring-fence the government grants for former ILF recipients.
Tesla Tesla Announces Huge Supercharger Expansion Next Article Apply Now » Image credit: Tesla via PC Mag April 25, 2017 2 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag –shares The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Matthew Humphries Add to Queue Senior Editor By the end of 2017, the number of Superchargers worldwide will have doubled, North America will have 150 percent more. 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Tesla announced the Model 3 at the beginning of April last year. As an electric vehicle carrying the Tesla name and having a price tag starting at $35,000, it was sure to be extremely popular. One week after pre-orders opened, more than 325,000 reservations were placed, translating to roughly $14 billion of future sales revenue.That’s a lot of new electric cars, and Tesla realizes they’ll all need charging regularly. So ahead of the launch of the Model 3, it’s been announced that the Superchargers network is set to expand. Currently there are 5,431 Superchargers across Tesla’s global network of 842 Supercharger Stations. By the end of 2017 the goal is to get that total past 10,000. In a blog post titled, “Charging Is Our Priority,” Tesla explains that charging needs to be “convenient, abundant and reliable for all owners.” And so an aggressive expansion of the Supercharger network is necessary.As well as the Supercharger expansion, Destination Charging is also set to grow. These are the charging connections offered at public locations including hotels, restaurants and resorts. Currently there are around 9,000 Destination Charging connectors, but Tesla wants to reach 15,000 this year.In order to achieve this expansion, Tesla’s busiest Supercharging Stations are set to expand to allow “several dozen Teslas” to charge simultaneously. New Supercharging Stations will also be built, and purposefully located further away from highways so as to expand the network and support more owners in less busy areas. In North America alone, the expansion will increase the available Superchargers by 150 percent.Full details of existing Supercharger locations as well as planned expansion locations can be viewed on Tesla’s Supercharger global map.
He may soon be out as governor of New Jersey, but Chris Christie continues to have an impact on one of his favorite topics: the legalization of marijuana.He’s not for it. He made that clear once again this month. As chairman of a committee appointed by President Donald Trump to make recommendations on dealing with the nation’s opioid crisis, Christie took the opportunity to again attack cannabis legalization.In a letter submitted with a report from the Trump-appointed Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, Christie compared legalization of marijuana to the expanded use of opioids in the 1990s and early 2000s.“The Commission urges that the same mistake is not made with the uninformed rush to put another drug legally on the market in the midst of an overdose epidemic,” he wrote.Related: Entrepreneurs See Opportunity Addressing Consumer Demand for Pesticide-Free CannabisTrump commissionOn Oct. 26, Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. The numbers are indeed staggering. According to the commission, 175 people die every day in the United States from drug overdose. “If a terrorist organization was killing 175 Americans a day on American soil, what would we do to stop them?” Christie wrote. “We would do anything and everything.”The commission made a number of recommendations. They include:A national multimedia campaign teaching children about the dangers of drugs and potential for addictionPlacing more nurses and counselors in elementary, middle and high schools to help at-risk studentsBlock grant federal funding for states to pay for anti-opioid programsProviding incentives for drug companies to develop non-opioid pain management drugsWhile marijuana has emerged as a possible alternative to opioids for pain management, the commission does not recommend its use. In his letter, Christie cited the National Institute on Drug Abuse research that found “marijuana use led to a 2 ½ times greater chance that the marijuana user would become an opioid user and abuser.“The commission found this very disturbing.”Others, however, have found the commission’s attack on marijuana itself disturbing.Related: New Jersey Voters Likely Just Approved Legalized MarijuanaDueling statisticsDr. Chinazo Cunningham, a professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told CNN that “I was surprised to see negative language about marijuana in the opioid report.”Cunningham also said that actual research does not back up the claim in the report that marijuana use increases the chances of opioid addiction. Cunningham’s own research has found that in states where marijuana is legal, opioid overdose deaths fell by 25 percent.Cunningham noted that the continued illegality of marijuana under federal law has kept doctors and scientists from doing thorough research on the potential medical uses for marijuana.Sanjay Gupta, the chief medical correspondent for CNN, also said there is little evidence marijuana leads to abuse of harder drugs. However, alcohol and nicotine have proved to be indicators of future drug abuse, he said.To stay up to date on the latest marijuana related news make sure to like dispensaries.com on Facebook Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. –shares dispensaries.com 3 min read Christie, chairman of a presidential commission on the opioid addiction epidemic, links marijuana to overdose deaths despite all the evidence to the contrary and none in support. Guest Writer The Evidence Says Legal Marijuana Reduces Opioid Deaths But Chris Christie Won’t Believe It Add to Queue Image credit: Win McNamee | Getty Images Download Our Free Android App Next Article Free Green Entrepreneur App Cannabis Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. November 21, 2017
Guest Writer Add to Queue Small Business Heroes Tech-Savvy and Fashion-Forward: A Look at Today’s Stylish Startups 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Hukkster co-founders Erica Bell (left) and Katie Finnegan. The fashion business is notoriously tough to break into.Even Gianni Versace spent years working as a dress-maker’s apprentice before starting up his own eponymous and uber-famous fashion house Gianni Versace.But the newest crowd of fashionista entrepreneurs aren’t sweating it out over sketchbooks and dress samples. Between rewarding users for style advice and supplying them with their own virtual closets, today’s fashionable young founders are using technology to tap into customers’ penchant for new looks. And they’re not heading for the runway either; they’re launching where their customers are: online.We checked in with some of the most innovative — and stylish — startups around. Here’s how three of them are standing out in the ever fickle-fashion world:Pramod Dabir and the inspiration for Boutine, his wife.image credit: FashinvestBoutineHQ: San FranciscoFounded: Aug., 2012Like most businesses, social-shopping site Boutine started with a personal experience. Founder Pramod Dabir, 28, lived with his fiancé — along with six other women — while she was studying at Stanford. These women would run into each other’s rooms and ask each other ‘How does this look?’ ‘Does it match,’ he recalls. One girl was more fashionable and would be doling out a lot of advice. When Dabir noticed that the women were making purchasing decisions based on what the fashionista friend advised, he began building a platform that would enable users to be financially rewarded for sharing their style and sartorial savvy.Related: Website Makes Boutique Fashions Available AnywhereToday, users receive a 10 percent commission on the sale of whatever products they recommend. We have a robust back end system that allows us to handle all of the splitting of commissions and processing of sales, he says. I wanted to create a place for women to share their voice about fashion and be compensated for it, says Dabir.But the other element that sets Boutine apart from traditional fashion companies? Engagement. The site allows users to become stylists — creating their own virtual boutiques and recommending designers and apparel pulled from the site’s inventory. It also offers users the ability to style outfits, dragging and dropping different items into their boutique, rotating them and adding embellishments. Users don’t have to necessarily buy the products, but they can engage with them, he says.Rohan Deuskar, co-founder of StyliticsStyliticsHQ: New York CityFounded: Nov., 2011How well brands and retailers know their customers is top of mind for Rohan Deuskar, 30, the co-founder of Stylitics, a tracking and organization service for consumers’ closets. As we talked to merchants and designers in the fashion space, we found that the tools they were using to know what’s in their customer’s closet or shopping bag was very old-fashioned, says Deuskar. It was all focus groups and surveys.Deuskar immediately recognized an opportunity: to allow users to create a virtual closet — through which they could list clothes they’d like to buy, as well as plan their outfits for the week. They could also analyze how much they’re paying per wear (a.k.a., the justification for paying top dollar for jeans) and make sure they don’t wear anything twice.Related: David Segal on DAVIDsTEA: North America’s Next Starbucks?But brands can also bank on the service. Users’ data are gathered and delivered, anonymously, to brands and retailers who pay for the information. We can get a clear picture of everyday clothing choices and the patterns that are emerging, says Deuskar. My vision is that in a couple of years, when you walk into your favorite store, you’ll get a personal experience around patterns, style and price points that you care about.Hukkster co-founders Erica Bell (left) and Katie Finnegan.image credit: WSJHukksterHQ: New York CityFounded: Dec., 2011It’s well known that online shoppers break for bargains. So, it would seem upstart fashion-deals site Hukkster is bound to strike a chord.When consumers find a product online that they want to buy, they simply ‘hukk it’ and then they’ll get a notification by email or text when the price of that item drops by at least 25 percent. The concept for the company came from the co-founders’ collective love of fashion — the duo met in 2007 while working as merchandisers at J. Crew — and the fact that they felt bombarded by special offers and deals piling up in their in-boxes, says co-founder Erica Bell, 27. Bell and her co-founder, Katie Finnegan, 29, wanted to offer users the ability to be alerted to deals at their favorite stores, like the Gap and Bloomingdale’s, in one email. In turn, the startup receives a fee whenever a sale is made via Hukkster.Related: Silicon Valley’s Best Dressed (Photos)Like their fashionable counterparts, Hukkster’s founders say the site also relies heavily on engaging with users. Right now, we’re focusing on apparel and accessories, but we’re just at the tip of the iceberg, says Bell. Our end goal would be for people to be able to ‘Hukk everything on the web.Why do you think fashion startups are becoming so tech savvy? Let us know in the comments section below. Lambeth Hochwald –shares Next Article October 25, 2012 Image credit: WSJ Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Register Now »
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 5 2019MooDFOOD, the largest randomized clinical trial to study the effects of nutritional strategies on the prevention of major depressive disorder concludes that daily intake of nutritional supplements cannot prevent depression.Over 1000 participants who were overweight or had obesity and were identified as being at elevated risk for depression but who were not currently depressed, from four European countries -the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain, took part in the study. Participants were randomized to either take nutritional supplements containing folic acid, vitamin D, zinc, selenium or to a pill placebo, and half of participants also received a behavioral lifestyle intervention intended to change dietary behaviors and patterns.Researcher Mariska Bot from Amsterdam UMC reported: “Daily intake of nutritional supplements over a year does not effectively prevent the onset of a major depressive episode in this sample. Nutritional supplements were not better than placebo. Therapeutic sessions aimed at making changes towards a healthy dietary behavior did also not convincingly prevent depression”. Dr. Bot is first author of a paper showing these results in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).Depression is a common disorderMore than 40 million Europeans experience a major depressive disorder. One in ten men and one in five women suffer from clinical depression at least once during their lifetime. Depression is one of the most prevalent and disabling disorders in the EU.Given the increasing prevalence of depression, more people are actively searching for ways to decrease their risk through lifestyle modification, but are often overwhelmed by confusing and contradictory information. To help European citizens the MooDFOOD project has developed evidence-based nutritional strategies to help prevent depression.Prevention of depression through a healthy dietThe MooDFOOD prevention trial formed a crucial part of the five year MooDFOOD project, which investigated the relationship between nutrition and depression. MooDFOOD was funded by the European Commission and led by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.Related StoriesPesticide exposure may increase risk of depression in adolescentsNutritional supplements offer no protection against cardiovascular diseases, say researchersCaregiver depression linked to increased emergency department visits for patients with dementiaAlthough the behavioral therapy to encourage a healthy dietary behavior and improve diet was not effective at preventing depression overall, there was some evidence that it prevented depressive episodes in those participants who attended a recommended number of sessions. This may suggest the food behavioral therapy only works if the participants get sufficient exposure and are able to sufficiently improve their diet and dietary behavior.MooDFOOD project coordinators professor Marjolein Visser and professor Ingeborg Brouwer of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam said:”Several studies within, and outside the five year MooDFOOD project show that consuming a healthy dietary pattern is important for European citizens, not only for physical health, but it may also help to prevent depressive symptoms. ” Based on a large number of studies and careful analysis, MooDFOOD researchers have come to three important conclusions at the end of their project. First, a healthy dietary pattern, typified by a Mediterranean style diet high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, pulses and olive oil, and low in red meat and full-fat dairy products, may reduce the risk of developing depression. Second, in people with obesity, weight loss can lead to a reduction in depressive symptoms. Third, current evidence does not support the use of nutritional supplements in order to prevent depression.Practical toolsThese recent results have important implications for all Europeans. The MooDFOOD team has translated these findings into tools for the general population, health professionals (GPs, dieticians and psychologists), researchers and policy makers. Citizens and health professionals can find these tools, together with the MooDFOOD project results and conclusions on the prevention of depression through nutrition on the MooDFOOD project website: http://www.moodfood-vu.eu. Source:https://easo.org/
Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 21 2019Fibrosis is often associated with many of the fatal diseases that pervade our globe, riddling organs with stiff tissue that diminishes their flexibility and leads to their failure. The World Health Organization estimates that fibrosis is directly implicated in, or responsible for, as many as 40 percent of all deaths across the globe. The University of Virginia School of Engineering, in conjunction with the UVA School of Medicine, launched a dedicated Fibrosis Initiative to address this increasingly prevalent threat, drawing from university-wide expertise in extracellular, computational, and quantitative biology. In many ways, fibrosis is as significant a problem as cancer, but we have no reliable approaches for early detection or effective treatment.Through this initiative, we can leverage the collective expertise of UVA researchers that are conducting fibrosis related studies to establish those groundbreaking approaches.”Thomas Barker, professor of biomedical engineering at UVA Engineering and director at the Fibrosis Initiative UVA is taking a significant step forward in shaping those groundbreaking approaches, hosting a first-of-its kind, dedicated forum on fibroblasts from June 23-35. The American Society for Matrix Biology will co-host the event.To date, the biomedical field has not firmly established a definition for fibroblasts, often viewing them as a single, catch-all cell type. However, this international meeting aims to help shape this definition–and shed light on the impact fibroblasts have on the formation of scar tissue, proper repair of wounds, and modeling of complex systems.The meeting, sponsored by Bristol Meyers Squibb, the National Institutes of Health, UVA Fibrosis Initiative and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, will convene more than 100 world leaders and investigators who have contributed to this area of work. Sessions, led by moderators from across the country, will focus on a variety of topics relating to fibroblasts, including their origins and lineages; pathology; imaging; and role in shaping signaling networks.Over the course of three days, speakers will also share insights from both published and unpublished cutting-edge studies. Jeffrey Holmes, professor of biomedical engineering and medicine and director of the Center for Engineering in Medicine at the University of Virginia, as well as Boris Hinz, distinguished professor of tissue repair and regeneration at the University of Toronto, will deliver keynote addresses.As the Fibrosis Initiative continues to promote national and international collaborations around fibroblasts, it will also focus on supporting related research at UVA, launching an initial cohort of multi-investigator “seed grants” in the interest of securing a National Institutes of Health “Center of Excellence” designation. Post-doctoral fellows will have the opportunity to shape the next wave of research on fibroblasts, and fibrosis more generally, with these funding supports.Related StoriesNew gene-editing protocol allows perfect mutation-effect matchingSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedCurrent projects include:Stemming the Tide of Lung Transplant Rejections: While lung transplants have transformed the prospects of patients with end-stage lung failure, the overall five- to 10-year survival rate still lags significantly behind patients with other types of organ transplants such as livers and kidneys; the result of a condition known as chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD). With the support of Barker and Dr. Alexander Krupnick, a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon at UVA Health System, initial research has shown how the loss of expression of Thy-1, an important glycoprotein that defines unique subtypes of fibroblasts, may increase the likelihood of CLAD during lung transplants.Positioning Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts to Combat Tumor Growth: While cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), which are prominent in the tumor stroma, can inhibit the progress of tumors, others can also curtail the impact of critical therapies and drugs. The principal investigator, Andrew Dudley, associate professor of microbiology, immunology and cancer biology at the UVA School of Medicine, is leveraging a seed grant to develop cutting-edge tools and approaches that identify the different molecular compositions of CAFs; explore how blocking damaging CAFs could delay the progress of tumors; and inform strategies that improve how we treat cancer.Biomedical engineers, scientists, and clinicians across UVA will continue to come together to lead similar projects, all of which strive to identify the causes of pathological cell behaviors, explore how fibrosis affects the well-being of specific organ systems, and pinpoint new techniques to detect, monitor, and treat this condition.Over the next several years, the Fibrosis Initiative also aims to launch additional, dedicated meetings and research opportunities (both internally and nationally) around fibroblasts, maintaining the momentum from this convening and related projects.”Through the upcoming ASMB meeting and our own groundbreaking seed grant projects, we have the opportunity to lead an increasingly imperative global conversation on fibroblasts and fibrosis more generally,” said Barker.”If we are successful, we can make significant strides in the worldwide fight to diagnose and treat a growing cause of death that affects all communities.” Source:University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jul 3 2019Most people know that regular exercise is good for your health. New research shows it may make you smarter, too.Neuroscientists at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, working with mice, have discovered that a short burst of exercise directly boosts the function of a gene that increases connections between neurons in the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory.The research is published online in the journal eLife. Related StoriesAn active brain and body associated with reduced risk of dementiaNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustPrevious research in animals and in people shows that regular exercise promotes general brain health. However, it’s hard to untangle the overall benefits of exercise to the heart, liver and muscles from the specific effect on the brain. For example, a healthy heart oxygenates the whole body, including the brain.”Previous studies of exercise almost all focus on sustained exercise,” Westbrook said. “As neuroscientists, it’s not that we don’t care about the benefits on the heart and muscles but we wanted to know the brain-specific benefit of exercise.”So the scientists designed a study in mice that specifically measured the brain’s response to single bouts of exercise in otherwise sedentary mice that were placed for short periods on running wheels. The mice ran a few kilometers in two hours.The study found that short-term bursts of exercise – the human equivalent of a weekly game of pickup basketball, or 4,000 steps – promoted an increase in synapses in the hippocampus. Scientists made the key discovery by analyzing genes that were increased in single neurons activated during exercise.One particular gene stood out: Mtss1L. This gene had been largely ignored in prior studies in the brain.”That was the most exciting thing,” said co-lead author Christina Chatzi, Ph.D.The Mtss1L gene encodes a protein that causes bending of the cell membrane. Researchers discovered that when this gene is activated by short bursts of exercise, it promotes small growths on neurons known as dendritic spines – the site at which synapses form.In effect, the study showed that an acute burst of exercise is enough to prime the brain for learning.In the next stage of research, scientists plan to pair acute bouts of exercise with learning tasks to better understand the impact on learning and memory. Source:Oregon Health & Science UniversityJournal reference:Chatzi, C. et al. (2019) Exercise-induced enhancement of synaptic function triggered by the inverse BAR protein, Mtss1L. eLife. doi.org/10.7554/eLife.45920. Exercise is cheap, and you don’t necessarily need a fancy gym membership or have to run 10 miles a day.”Co-senior author Gary Westbrook, M.D., senior scientist at the OHSU Vollum Institute and Dixon Professor of Neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine