Monday, March 31, 2008

Alzheimer's Reading Room: Vytorin Postgame: Worse Than Expected

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The discussion of that big Vytorin study at this weekend’s big cardiology meeting was harsher than expected. Industry observers had predicted that an open conversation by the experts could temper the negative image of the drug that emerged earlier this year after the study results were made public, but just the opposite occurred.
The study was presented at the conference yesterday and published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“You’ve just seen a negative trial that should change practice, especially the way we in this country have prescribed,” Harlan Krumholz of Yale told thousands of cardiologists at the meeting, the WSJ reports.
The NEJM also published an editorial based on the study results, calling on doctors to prescribe Zetia (and, by extension, Vytorin), only in selected cases.
Catherine Arnold of Credit Suisse called the discussion “surprisingly negative,”
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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Alzheimer's Reading Room: Free Online Publications Alzheimer's and Caregiving

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tips for Scouting Out a Foreclosed Home

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While buying a foreclosed property may present some savings, risks also abound. We found this advice on

• To find offerings, read the legal notices section of the local newspaper, or check in with title companies, real-estate agents and lenders, suggests June Fletcher.

• Understand that not all foreclosures are bargains. Some lenders may be slashing prices on bank-owned properties, but “the prices on such properties remain stubbornly high,” writes Kelly Evans and Sara Murray.
use online tools to find out going home prices.
“You can’t expect to bid 50% of the asking price and hope to get it,” Ms. Evans and Ms. Murray quote one Realtor as saying.

• When coming up with your offer, factor in the cost of the repairs the home may require. Foreclosed properties can sit vacant for periods of time (and thus may fall into disrepair).
Foreclosed homes tend to solicit multiple bids
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Simon Cowell roars up in his $1million supercar to view his $8million mansion

Great pics of Cowell, girlfriend and house.

X Factor supremo Simon Cowell cut more than a dash as he roared up in Beverly Hills, in his $1million luxury car to look at the $8million Beverly Hills mansion he is currently building.

With former model girlfriend Terri Seymour by his side, some might say that he's absolutely living the good life.

Cowell arrived in his $1million Bugatti Veyron to cast his eye over work being done on his luxury home, which has risen from the ground after he razed the original building in 2005 to make way for a new five-bedroom, six-bathroom mansion.

Living the good life: Multi-millionaire Simon Cowell arrived at his $8million mansion, in his $1million Bugatti Veyron sports car, with his stunning ex-model girlfriend Terri Seymour, in Beverly Hills yesterday

Million dollar pad: The house in Beverly Hills will have every conceivable luxury, including five-bedrooms, six-bathrooms, a hi-tech media centre, gym, and swimming pool

Girlfriend Terri Seymour
they have no plans to marry
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Monday, March 24, 2008

Green Ink: Return of the Limits of Growth

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The weakening U.S. economy is creating a tug-of-war for oil prices
expected weaker demand drives down crude early Monday, reports Bloomberg.
The Saudis kept their promise to boost oil output, concludes vice-president Cheney
Malthus joins forces with the Club of Rome in a big look at global growth and resources,
Growing per-capita resource consumption around the world has economists and policy-makers scratching their heads and reviving phantoms of the 1970s.
the future of green-collar jobs; green diplomacy in Sweden; turning garbage into energy; how environmental logging can restore old mill towns; and the rise of green planning for anti-sprawl communities.
Grist looks at Kansas governor Sibelius’s decision to block new coal plants
And Grist looks at how the business groups are faring in their battle against tougher climate legislation.
he WSJ (sub reqd) sees the possible future of U.S. cars
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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Photovoltaic Basics

Have you ever wondered how electricity is produced by a photovoltaic — what we often call a PV or solar electric — system?

PV Physics

In this section, you'll learn how sunlight can be converted into electricity.

PV Devices

Solar materials need to have certain important qualities. You'll first learn what these characteristics are.

PV Systems

you'll learn how solar cells are combined to become a larger photovoltaic system
Cell TechnologyEnergy Payback Time (EPBT)1 (yr)Energy Used to Produce System Compared to Total Generated
Energy 2 (%)
Total Energy Generated by System Divided by Amount of Energy Used to Produce System2
Single-crystal silicon2.710.010
Non-ribbon multicrystalline silicon2.28.112
Ribbon multicrystalline silicon1.76.316
Cadmium telluride1.03.727

Energy Payback Times for Photovoltaic Technologies

payback time (EPBT) is the length of deployment required for a photovoltaic system to generate an amount of energy equal to the total energy that went into its production
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Wind Powering America

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Wind Powering America is a commitment to dramatically increase the use of wind energy in the United States. This initiative will establish new sources of income for American farmers, Native Americans, and other rural landowners, and meet the growing demand for clean sources of electricity.

Through Wind Powering America, the United States will achieve targeted regional economic development, enhance our power generation options, protect the local environment, and increase our energy and national security.

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This map shows the installed wind capacity in megawatts.  As of December 31, 2007, 16,596 MW have been installed. Alaska, 2 MW; Hawaii, 63 MW; Washington, 1163 MW; Oregon, 885 MW; California, 2439 MW; Idaho, 75 MW; Utah, 1 MW; Montana, 145 MW; Wyoming, 288 MW; Colorado, 1067 MW; New Mexico, 496 MW; North Dakota, 345 MW; South Dakota, 98 MW; Nebraska, 72 MW; Kansas, 364 MW; Oklahoma, 689 MW; Texas, 4296 MW; Minnesota, 1258 MW; Iowa, 1115 MW; Missouri, 62 MW; Wisconsin, 53 MW; Illinois, 733 MW; Te

Wind Energy Projects

Use Interwest Energy Alliance's project locator powered by Google Maps to find grid-connected wind projects in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

The American Wind Energy Association provides a clickable map to find installed and future projects in your state as well as state installed wind power rankings.

Use the American Wind Energy Association's clickable map to find installed and future projects in your state as well as state installed wind power rankings.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sweaters made with dog fur take Internet by storm

Honest, it's true. Go figure?
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"They are extremely warm and pretty much waterproof. Unless it is banging it down, it is fine," Brian tells Britain's Daily Mail newspaper. "I've always got a sweat on by the time I get from the bus to the shops."
The couple says both dogs have died since the hair was collected and spun into wool. "There's no skins involved. It's purely and simply the fur, the wool that comes off them," he tells ITN.
Any guesses as to how the sweaters smell when it rains? 
Victoria Pettigrew, the owner of VIP Fibers, tells USA TODAY that she has lots of customers who pay $9 an ounce to have their pet's fur turned into wool.
"What they get back is yarn that is 100% their pet, basically ready to knit and wear," Pettigrew says.
Pettigrew spoke with Knight Ridder in 2006
Betty Burian Kirk, a knitter who charges $50 to $200 to turn a dog's coat into a coat
If you want to save some money, check out 1997's Knitting with Dog Hair.
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Statement from U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy on the National Academy of Sciences Report: Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership

Read more by following the links.
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“With the President’s leadership, DOE’s FreedomCar and Fuel Partnership serves to provide consumers with smarter, more energy-efficient and appealing options in the interest of reducing emissions and our nation’s dependence on oil.
“I am proud of the Department’s work with our industry partners and we look forward to expanding and diversifying the collaborative research, development, and deployment in an effort to bring online greater domestically produced energy sources that will help this nation achieve a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy future.” 

Learn more about DOE’s FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership.

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China Confirms It’s the Source of Heparin Contaminant

We really need to address this issues with China. Is profit worth what we are doing to our children and now adult population?
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China’s State Food and Drug Agency has confirmed that the contaminant in Baxter’s heparin was introduced in China, Bloomberg reports.
What’s more, the contaminant — called over-sulfated chondroitin sulfate — probably entered the drug pretty far up the supply chain. Scientific Protein Laboratories said the modified chondroitin was in the raw heparin they bought in China, then processed into the active pharmaceutical ingredient to sell to Baxter. The chondroitin probably didn’t come from pigs, and may have been used to meet production targets when more than 250,000 Chinese pigs were hit by a runaway infection, the Chicago Tribune reports. It wasn’t detected by SPL’s tests.
Chondroitin sulfate is “abundant and cheap,” according to an FDA official quoted by the WSJ. It typically comes from animal cartilage.
The modified chondroitin would clump together with real heparin in a way that would make the contaminant tough to spot in typical screening tests
Baxter’s heparin, now off the market
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Space oddity: Key Earth compound found outside solar system

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For the first time, a molecule containing carbon — the organic building block of life on Earth — has been found outside our solar system.
Scientists report in the journal Nature that methane — yes, that smelly gas — was detected in the atmosphere of a Jupiter-size planet about 63 light years away. (That's roughly 3.7 quadrillion miles, give or take a trillion.) Atmospheric water was discovered also.
But don't get your hopes up that this is where your extraterrestrial relatives are hiding: The big ball of gas is orbiting too close to its sun to support earthly life. The scientists write, however, that "under the right circumstances" methane can play a key role in prebiotic chemistry — the chemical reactions considered necessary to form life as we know it.
Astronomers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab found the far-away molecules with the Hubble Space Telescope. Here's the news release.
The BBC and have more.
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The Promotion of Homeownership as an Overriding Goal

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As voters ponder which candidate to support in the run for the White House, the nation’s economic problems are being pushed to the forefront. One big question: Who’s to blame for the current financial crisis that has its roots in the housing and credit markets?
The blame doesn’t rest with just one political party — nor can it be assigned to one sector or level of government, write Greg Ip, James R. Hagerty and Jonathan Karp in today’s Journal. “The nation gorged itself on home-buying, something once considered as American as apple pie,” they say.
“We went crazy as a country with the goals…saying, ‘Everybody’s got to have a house,’ ” said Richard Syron, chief executive of Freddie Mac and a former Carter Treasury and Federal Reserve official, in December.
Readers, is the dream of homeownership for all, just a dream? Was the promotion of homeownership one of the driving causes of the current crisis in housing? –Lauren Baier Kim
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Red Sox players threaten boycott over pay for coaches, others

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Boston Red Sox players are threatening to boycott a series of games in Japan unless coaches and other team employees get the same $40,000 stipend as players, according to our friends at USA TODAY's Game On blog.
Update at 1:33 p.m. ET: The dispute has been settled, but the Associated Press says the terms of the agreement have yet to be disclosed.
The Associated Press says Red Sox players stayed in the dugout today, skipping the team's last spring training game in Fort Myers, Fla.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Calculate your Economic Stimulus Payment

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Economic Stimulus Payment Calculator

Welcome to the Economic Stimulus Payment Calculator

In order to determine whether you qualify for a stimulus payment, we will ask you a series of questions.

Before You Start

  • Have your 2007 Form 1040, Form 1040EZ, or Form 1040A available. You will be entering information from one of these forms.

  • The result from this tool is just an estimate.

  • Allow approximately 5-10 minutes to complete this tool.

  • Please answer all questions on each page.

Remember the answer you get is only as accurate as the data you enter!

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A More Perfect Union

Clinton Obama Weblog: A More Perfect Union

Monday, March 17, 2008

Changing Demographics of the Foreclosure Crisis

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Not even affluent homeowners are safe from the foreclosure crisis. In Maryland, “counties with high incomes and pricey housing were among the hardest hit,” the Baltimore Sun found
“All but two of the 10 most affluent counties — those with median household incomes topping $70,000 — saw foreclosure cases rise by more than 50 percent
Are these communities destined to become “slumburbs?”
As foreclosures hit even the most affluent areas, suburbs may become tomorrow’s slums, writes Carol Lloyd of the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re not talking about mean inner-city streets getting meaner, we’re talking about the pristine, newly built developments of four-bedroom, three-bath dream homes produced in the last housing boom becoming ghettos for the poor and the disenfranchised
Looters stealing copper pipe and siding from new homes, gunshots puncturing picture-perfect facades, squatters taking up residence in abandoned houses,”
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Queen of Soul, King of Pop Risk Foreclosure

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Singer Aretha Franklin and pop star Michael Jackson could both lose their homes to foreclosure, according to articles by the Detroit Free Press and the Associated Press.
Ms. Franklin fell into default for her $700,000 Detroit mansion because of what she calls an “oversight”
Ms. Franklin owes $19,192 in back taxes on the home through 2007, the newspaper says.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jackson’s home was scheduled to be auctioned off this week because of the $24.5 million that he owes on his mortgage for his Neverland Estate in Los Olivos, Calif
However through a “mutual agreement” with his creditors, the auction has been postponed to May 14

Mr. Jackson’s estate, which he reportedly no longer lives in, once boasted a working private amusement park, with a merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, bumper cars, roller coaster and a zoo, the Star Tribune says. — Lauren Baier Kim

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