Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mexican-American vote in Mexico election hampered by apathy, hurdles

Juan Castro is voting for two presidents this year: one for the United States and another for Mexico.

"I'm not sure who I'm going to vote for," said the San Jose resident. "To tell you the truth, the three main candidates who are running are worthless, more of the same."

He's talking about the Mexican election. The three-month campaign for Mexico's July 1 presidential and congressional election officially began Friday.

"They're all career politicians. As far as parties, they're all the same."

Still, four decades after he moved to the United States, the municipal accountant at Sunnyvale City Hall is one of more than 12,000 Mexican-Americans in California who have registered to vote in the election, a fraction of the nearly 4 million eligible.

Will Mexican-American voters make a difference if there's a close election to replace outgoing President Felipe Calderon? Not as much as they could, says Hector Tajonar, professor at UC San Diego's Center for Mexican-American Studies.

"I don't think they will have any influence, any important influence, unfortunately," Tajonar said. The election is an important one that will affect the tone of cross-border relations, trade, immigration and the war on criminal cartels for the rest of the decade.

Almost all of the Mexican-born immigrants in California are eligible to vote in Mexico, but a cumbersome registration diminishes their sway.

To register to vote by mail from abroad,

prospective voters must travel to Mexico, file papers at an election office to get a voter ID card, and then wait.

"After two weeks you have to go back and pick up the card," said Carlos Felix, Mexico's consul general in San Francisco. Despite years of discussion, the country is still in a "learning process" about how it can attract more voters who live outside Mexico.

Many other countries -- from Peru to Iran -- allow their emigrants to vote at consulates and other temporary polling places in the United States, but none has as many prospective voters abroad as Mexico.

Castro said more Mexican-Americans would vote in Mexico's elections if they could. The San Jose resident wonders if Mexico makes it such a hassle on purpose.

"The ones in power fear that one day the Mexicans living outside of Mexico will get organized and strong," he said. "They know the numbers are there, the knowledge is there, the desire is there."

The deadline to register by mail was Jan. 15, and Alfonso Carillo found out about it too late.

Carillo became a United States citizen last month, but the Cisco Systems worker tracks politics in Mexico and remains a citizen there.

He's so concerned about the Mexico's future that he might vote anyway, but he will have to fly home to do it.

The summer election pits pioneering woman candidate Josefina Vasquez Mota, representing the ruling National Action Party, against front-runner Enrique Pe?a Nieto, whose Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, ran Mexico for more than seven decades.

A third candidate, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is also running again after losing narrowly to Calderon in 2006. The Mexican presidency is a one-term, six-year office.

"The PRI will probably win, not because it's the best, but because they have the most money and they control the most states through the governors," Castro said.

"Safer streets" is the most important campaign issue for Fernando Fonseca, a 37-year-old Jalisco native who lives in San Jose and also plans to vote. "Get Mexico back to what it's been," he says, "so that people can go and relax and international businesses are more secure, more jobs and better opportunities, more education."

Juan Jose Gutierrez hopes more Mexican-Americans will be able to vote in the next presidential election in 2018, but for now, he said, it's just a dedicated few.

"The people who went through all the hoops to register to vote probably are individuals who follow what's going on in Mexico, who are very interested in who's going to be the next chief executive because so much is at stake," said Gutierrez, president of the Los Angeles-based Full Rights for Immigrations Coalition. "We have a very bad situation with all the drug war and deaths."

Unable to vote are Mexican immigrants living illegally in the United States, because if they go south to vote in Mexico, they won't be able to get north again.

Mexican election authorities offer still another reason for the low registration.

"Many Mexican-Americans and Mexicans who have been living for a long time in the United States and have become American citizens feel more connected and are more informed about the politics of the U.S. than the politics of Mexico," said Ana Isabel Fuentes Bustillos, a Mexico City-based spokeswoman for IFE, the federal agency that runs the elections.

The July 1 election
March 31 opens the official campaign period for Mexico's July 1 national elections. The country restricts formal campaigning to a 3-month window. The Mexican presidency is a single 6-year term.

Mexico's candidates

  • Enrique Pe?a Nieto
    Party: PRI, or Institutional Revolutionary Party. This centrist party held the presidency for more than 70 years until 2000
    How he's polling: 36 percent
    Bio: 45-year-old former governor of the state of Mexico
  • Josefina Vazquez Mota
    Party: PAN, or National Action Party. The conservative party of incumbent President Felipe Calderon and his predecessor, Vicente Fox
    How she's polling: 26 percent
    Bio: 51-year-old former lawmaker and economist; first female candidate of any of the main parties
  • Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
    Party: PRD, or Party of the Democratic Revolution. This leftist party was founded in 1989
    How he's polling: 18 percent
    Bio: 59-year-old politician lost a close election to Felipe Calderon in 2006, then contested the results and led protests against election

    Source: Poll by Reforma newspaper

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    Malaysian Tennis: Swee Lee Challenge Cup needs a revamp

    THE Penang Lawn Tennis Association (PLTA) received only nine entries for its annual Swee Lee Challenge Cup, which incepted in 1948.
    The Challenge Cup, which is Penang?s oldest tennis, used to draw record entries but of late, it has failed to attract neither teams nor fans.
    PLTA set a limit of 16 entries for the recent edition but only nine teams were registered.
    Despite the poor response, fans were treated with some exciting tennis at the Penang Sports Club Tennis Complex in Jalan Utama.
    The Penang Sports Club Red (PSCR) won the title for third successive time by edging 34-time champions Chinese Recreation Club Dragons 2-1(CRCD) in the final.
    CRCD took the lead through Pang Zi Yang-Aaron Low, who defeated Luke Leighton-Bryant Thor 6-3, 5-4.
    Andrew Tijo-Mahesh leveled proceedings for PSCR by thrashing Jason Khoo-SK Tan 6-1, 6-1 before Tan Nian Yang-Jesril Jamel defeated Johnson Ooi-Tan Kian Tat 7-6, 6-2 for the winning point


    Championship Cup
    S-Finals ? Penang Sports Club Red 3 Francis Su Tennis Services Team 0; Chinese Recreation Club Dragons 2 Bukit Mertajam Mertajam Tennis Club 1.
    Final ? Penang Sports Club Red 2 Chinese Recreation Club Dragons 1.

    S-Finals? Chinese Recreation Club Tigers 2 Penang Sports Club Black 1; Bukit Mertajam Tennis Club 2 Penang Sports Club Yellow 1.
    Final: Chinese Recreation Cl ub Tigers 2 Bukit Mertajam Tennis Club 1.

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    Dow back in black as Wall Street cuts losses near quarter's end

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    William Hill Casino Introduces New Live Dealer Games

    Be the first of your friends to like this.
    Renowned online casino, poker and sports betting operator William Hill has announced yesterday that it managed to extend its offering of live dealer games. The new live dealer casino games will be aimed mostly at the Italian market.

    The new live dealer game package introduced by William Hill includes the games Live Roulette and Live Blackjack. According to a press release, the new games will offer players a new and action-packed gaming experience.

    The biggest element of the new live casino games will be the live dealers that will be hired. The live dealers will be trained professionals with long-time experience in the casino business. The dealers will interact and communicate with the players though live chat and webcam.

    The new live dealer games will be marketed for the Italian market. This means that the new live dealers hired will also be Italian citizens who will have the necessary understanding and cultural background in dealing with Italian customers.

    Italian Country Manager of William Hill Roby Salvadori commented the following:

    "We are excited to present a new offering dedicated to live games. Thanks to the Live Casino everybody can experience the emotion of a real casino, simply connecting from its sofa at any time. It's fun and easy to use and we believe it will be a big hit with Italian players."

    Up until now William Hill used two providers for its live dealer casino games. The first is Evolution Gaming that supplies William Hill Vegas; the second is Playtech that is powering the brand William Hill Casino Club.

    Italy not so long ago decided to regulate its online gambling market. The regulation of the Italian online gambling market became a success story after it managed to generate a lot of income to the state in form of taxes. After the legislation was adopted, many operators, among then William Hill, decided to acquire a license in the country.

    William Hill is one of the biggest European online sports betting, casino and poker providers. The William Hill casino platform provides a large selection of games which are also available in mobile format. The introduction of these new live dealer games will make the casino even more attractive to players.

    Tags: William Hill Casino, Live Dealer Games, Live Roulette, Live Blackjack, Italy

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    Friday, March 30, 2012

    Obama could face election-year jam on gay marriage

    BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) ? President Barack Obama could be caught in an election-year bind on gay marriage, wedged between the pressure of supporters who want him to back same-sex marriage and the political perils of igniting an explosive social issue in the midst of the campaign.

    Interviews with gay rights advocates and people close to Obama's campaign suggest it is no longer a matter of if, but when the president publicly voices his support. But Obama backers are split over whether that will happen before the November elections.

    Gay marriage is already a big issue in a handful of states that have it on their ballots in November, including Maine, where Obama was headlining two fundraisers Friday. He was not expected to wade into the issue during his remarks.

    The president also headlined fundraisers Friday in Vermont, one of six states, plus the District of Columbia, where gay marriage is legal. He did not mention the subject during his two appearances there.

    Once an opponent of gay marriage, Obama declared in 2010 that his personal views on the subject were "evolving." He has gone no further in public since then.

    People familiar with the Obama campaign's deliberations have tamped down expectations that the president might declare his support for gay marriage before the election. They say the campaign's internal conversations on the issue focus instead on how to energize gay and lesbian voters in spite of Obama's lack of clarity on the issue.

    Public support for gay marriage is increasing in the U.S., including among the independent voters who are a key to general election success.

    But regardless of whether Obama has made up his mind on the subject, it's not the topic his campaign wants to be talking about heading into an election expected to be decided largely on economic issues. As White House and campaign officials learned all too well during the controversy over birth control access earlier this year, stepping into social issues ? even those with Democratic support ? can quickly throw the president's message off course.

    While Obama aides saw the contraception issue as an important appeal to women voters, there may be little election-year payoff for the president taking a stand on gay marriage.

    Obama's record on gay rights issues, including the repeal of the military's ban on openly gay service members and an order for the Justice Department not to enforce a provision that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, has already solidified the overwhelming backing of gay rights supporters. His Republican rivals, including GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, not only oppose gay marriage, but also some other legal protections for gays and lesbians.

    As for Obama, "The gay rights community is now enthusiastically in his corner in terms of the re-election, so the pressure to deliver before the election is off," said Richard Socarides, a prominent gay rights advocate.

    The risk in Obama publicly backing gay marriage before the election is that it could become a rallying cry for conservatives who have thus far been reluctant to get behind Romney.

    Still, many Democrats and gay rights advocates believe Obama may end up being forced to take a position on the issue before November.

    The most pressing effort comes from within Obama's own party. Several high-profile Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and more than 20 Senate Democrats, want support for gay marriage added to the party's election platform. The platform will be adopted at the Democratic National Convention in early September, where Obama will accept the presidential nomination.

    So far, Obama advisers have sidestepped questions about whether he would support a gay marriage plank on the platform.

    "We don't even have a platform committee yet, much less a platform," Obama senior adviser David Plouffe said in a television interview.

    A person close to the Obama campaign said the president's re-election team is wary of the platform effort and prefers to let the president move on the issue at his own pace.

    People familiar with the campaign's thinking requested anonymity in order to discuss internal strategy.

    Gay rights advocates hope state ballot initiatives on gay marriage, like the one in Maine, could force Obama to weigh in, as he has on other state issues.

    "He's going to be in a lot of situations like this where the issue becomes unavoidable," said Socarides, a former Clinton White House official. "Even though he might want to avoid this, I think he's going to come up right against it in so many situations in the next couple of months."

    Obama's reluctance to embrace gay marriage has increasingly put him at odds with a majority of Americans. A Washington Post/ABC News poll this month found that 52 percent felt it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married, while 43 percent said it should be illegal.

    Support for gay marriage is highest among Democrats, with 64 percent supportive of the issue. Just over half of independents ? 54 percent ? back legalized gay marriage, according to the Post/ABC poll. Support among Republicans is the lowest, at 39 percent.

    Gay rights advocates say those numbers ? particularly the growing support among independents ? suggest there would be little political risk for Obama in backing gay marriage. And they say taking a stand in an election year could help boost enthusiasm among gay voters and young people, two core Obama constituencies.

    Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the president's evolution on gay marriage will be personal, not political.

    "The president and the president alone will come to a decision," LaBolt said.

    Maine's state Legislature approved gay marriage in 2009, but voters rejected it 53 percent to 47 percent that November. Gay marriage supporters believe enough people have changed their minds that the outcome will be different this time around.


    Associated Press Deputy Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta in Washington and AP writers David Sharp and Clarke Canfield in Portland, Maine contributed to this report.


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    Vitals - Rethinking how we confront cancer: Bad science and risk ...

    A new government report found the overall cancer death rate is falling, and the incidence of cancer deaths is declining in men and has leveled off in women. NBC's Robert Bazell reports.

    ?By Robert Bazell
    Chief science and medical correspondent
    NBC News

    Two thought provoking and disturbing studies out Wednesday raise major questions about conduct of the ?War on Cancer.? One examines? the quality of basic research and the other concludes that half of current cancer deaths could be prevented.

    Almost 90 percent of early stage cancer research looking for improved treatments is wrong, according to scientists at biotechnology giant Amgen and the MD Anderson Cancer Center. ?The researchers describe their findings as ?shocking.?

    Read Wednesday's news about the decline in cancer death rates.

    The allegations about questionable research in the quest for treatments appear in the prestigious journal Nature.? C. Glenn Begley, the former head of cancer research at Amgen, and surgical oncologist Lee M. Ellis of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston describe how scientists at the Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based Amgen tried to replicate the results of 53 landmark cancer research papers.? By landmark, they mean papers cited by others as significant progress.? All were so-called ?pre-clinical,? meaning they were studies in rodents or with cells in petri dishes. The scientists were able to replicate only 11 percent of the conclusions.? In science, replication is proof.? If a study can?t be reproduced reliably, it is wrong.?

    Most of the papers in question describe gene mutations or other changes in cancer cells that could be potential targets for new cancer treatments.? Such research is obviously critical for companies like Amgen deciding how to spend hundreds of millions testing potential drugs in humans.? The findings at Amgen do not differ greatly from those at a team at Bayer HealthCare in Germany, which reported last year that it could not replicate 25 per cent of studies.

    Begley and Ellis assume that fraud plays little or no role in the bad science. ?These investigators were all competent, well-meaning scientists who truly wanted to make advances in cancer research,? they write.

    So, what is the problem? Scientists often ignore negative findings that might raise a warning, cherry picking the results and putting the best face on their research. The practice involves many parties -- not just the scientists -- in the research process who turn blind eyes to questionable actions.

    As Begley and Ellis detail it, ?To obtain funding, a job, promotion or tenure, researchers need a strong publication record?Journal? editors, reviewers, and grant review committees [and I might add journalists?R.B.] often look for a scientific finding that is simple, clear and complete?a ?perfect? story.? It is therefore tempting for investigators to submit suspected data sets for publication, or even to massage data.??

    Whatever the motivation, the results are all too often wrong.

    Begley and Ellis call for nothing less than a change in the culture of cancer research.? They demand more willingness to admit to imperfections and an end to the practice of failing to publish negative results.?

    ?We in the field,? the say, ?must remain focused on the purpose of cancer research: to improve the lives of patients.?

    While the Amgen report casts doubt on cancer research, a separate study concludes that fully half of all cancers occurring today are preventable.? It raises questions about the billions spent searching for treatments and concludes that ?we must vigorously implement what we already know about preventing cancer.?

    The article about prevention appears in the top-tier journal Science Translational Medicine. Epidemiologists Graham Colditz, Kathleen Wolin and public health researcher Sarah Gehlert of Washington University in St. Louis review the best data.?

    According to the careful Washington University study, smoking remains the biggest cancer-causing environmental factor ?-- responsible for ?33 percent of cancer deaths, almost 189,000 lives a year in the U.S. alone.? Obesity now follows closely, causing 20 percent of cancer deaths, or 114,000 people a year.? Pollution and radiation (most of it from medical sources) each account for only about 2 percent of cancers.?

    The argument about allocation of funds for reducing the risk of cancer versus treatment is as old as our efforts to confront cancer.? But as these authors show the evidence and the need to act on it grow ever stronger.

    As a society, we have shown we can do a great deal ? but not nearly enough ?? about tobacco.?Obesity is another story, but we must do better if we want to be serious about cancer ? and all the other attendant diseases.

    Even short of the huge social challenges in confronting tobacco and obesity, there are many proven relatively simple methods to cut cancer deaths.? They include effective screening tests, such as pap tests and colonoscopies. The vaccines against HPV and hepatitis B both prevent cancer-causing viral infections, and aspirin is looking ever better as a cancer control agent.

    Only 1.5 percent of the U.S. cancer research budget now goes to risk reduction. The rest seeks to find treatments, an effort that Begley and Ellis show is seriously flawed.? As these two powerful studies out Wednesday show, it is high time we reorder our priorities.

    Robert Bazell is NBC's chief science and medical correspondent. Follow him?on?Facebook?and?Twitter.


    Daily aspirin linked to reduced cancer risk

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    Video: Pressure's on Yankees' Cano

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    Thursday, March 29, 2012

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    TechCrunch?s Picks: The 10 Best Startups From Y Combinator Demo Day

    The Best Of  Y66 startups showed off today at Y Combinator's Demo Day, and we covered all 39 that were ready to for the public. After talking to VCs and tech moguls, the TechCrunch teamed huddled up and picked these 10 companies as the best. They're disrupting commerce, evolving how we communicate, and making our phones even more powerful. Check out our coverage of session one, two, three, four, and five to choose your own favorites, but here's a cheat sheet to the startups we think are going to change the world, or at least make a ton of money.


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    Study Determines 33 Is Our Happiest Age (VIDEO)

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    Cute mini-robots compete for championship title, gladiator freedom (video)

    If you thought a robot fighting championship just sounds like the plot for a Hugh Jackman vehicle, you'd be partly right. We'll tell you who does have the real steel though, the plucky fellas you see above. They're competing for this year's ROBO-ONE championship, an annual competition where humanoid robots slug it out to the death (or power failure at least) held this weekend in Kawasaki, Japan. This is no toy fair either, with contestants bagging a $12,000 pot if their android-avatar wins the crown. This year, that title goes to GAROO, winning for the second time in a row by defeating Gargoyle Mini for the spoils. Rumors of LED gauging were unfounded, as you'll see in the video after the round... we mean break.

    Continue reading Cute mini-robots compete for championship title, gladiator freedom (video)

    Cute mini-robots compete for championship title, gladiator freedom (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 27 Mar 2012 18:12:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

    Permalink The Verge  |  sourceRobot Dreams, Robo-One (Japanese)  | Email this | Comments


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    Sunday, March 25, 2012

    Vocal Lessons ? 69 TA

    [unable to retrieve full-text content]The interesting issue about them is that they're structured like an art lesson. That is, it's a stage-by-phase instruction that prospects you to improvising your possess new music. Just like an artwork lesson, you find out the basic principles initial. Each action leads you to the subsequent and if you ... If you like to know about Music Lessons · No Comments ? Tags: entertainment, hobbies, song. Author: Ramesh Tebstone. This author has published 167 articles so far.


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    Liquid-Cooled Laptops Can Handle Overclocked Processors Without Overcooking Thighs [Video]

    Most laptops can barely handle a late-night YouTube session without reaching sperm-scorching temperatures. So if you dabble in over-clocking, you'll be frying eggs in no time. That is unless you've got Asetek's new liquid-cooling system for laptops. More »


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    Saturday, March 24, 2012

    Tsunami-tossed boat spotted off western Canada

    A Japanese fishing boat lost in the Pacific Ocean after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami was sighted March 20, 2012 drifting 150 nautical miles off the southern coast of Haida Gwaii near British Columbia, Canada by the crew of an aircraft on a routine surveillance patrol. The vessel is considered an obstruction to navigation, and a Notice to Shipping has been issued by the Canadian Coast Guard. (AP Photo/Canadian Department of National Defence via The Canadian Press)

    A Japanese fishing boat lost in the Pacific Ocean after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami was sighted March 20, 2012 drifting 150 nautical miles off the southern coast of Haida Gwaii near British Columbia, Canada by the crew of an aircraft on a routine surveillance patrol. The vessel is considered an obstruction to navigation, and a Notice to Shipping has been issued by the Canadian Coast Guard. (AP Photo/Canadian Department of National Defence via The Canadian Press)

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) ? A large fishing vessel swept away by the tsunami that devastated Japan last year has been spotted adrift off British Columbia in western Canada.

    Jeff Olsson of Victoria's Joint rescue coordination center says an airplane contracted by the government spotted the 50-foot-long (15-meter-long) vessel recently about 160 miles (260 kilometers) west of Haida Gwaii, slowly drifting toward shore.

    The vessel has been identified as coming from Hokkaido, Japan. Olsson says no one is believed to be aboard and there's no environmental danger.

    A maritime warning has been issued because the vessel could pose a navigational hazard.

    About 5 million tons of debris were swept into the ocean in March 2011 when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.

    Associated Press


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    Man pulls a gun on Arkansas news team

    By Courtney Garcia, contributor

    Reporters often face obstacles in their attempt to catch a good story, however, they rarely are threatened with a gun in the process. Such was the case for this journalist in Arkansas, who managed to stay relatively calm when her research for work took a turn for the worse.

    Investigating the death of Wilton Goudeaux, an elderly man allegedly killed by his family, WREG Channel 3 News reporter April Thompson, and her cameraman, Ben Short, drove to the deceased man?s house in Joyner, Ark.,?to look for clues. After a few minutes on site, the team was met, not so fondly, by the ?best friend? of Goudeaux?s son, who stormed up furiously in a pick-up truck as they were exiting the scene.

    ?Get that camera off me,? said the man, also remarking that everybody was ?lying about Mr. Goudeaux.? When told by Thompson that the crew was merely searching for the truth, the man reached out and slapped the camera away, again telling the team to leave. Thompson informed the man he could not touch the camera, prompting him to stomp back to his vehicle and grab a gun.

    ?I bet I can do this,? he said, waving around his pistol.

    Thompson and Short returned to their car and called the police, who arrived shortly thereafter.

    Identified as Brandon Odom, the man was later arrested. As it turned out, Odom?s sister, who was the caretaker of Goudeaux, is also being investigated in connection with?the death of the Mississippi County man. Together with Goudeaux?s son, she is accused of?drugging the victim with sleeping pills, using meth while caring for him, stealing $100,000 from him, and leaving him malnourished. Goudeaux's death has apparently triggered much speculation around the small town, and is a sensitive subject for Odom, who himself now faces charges of aggravated assault for this incident.

    While it may be another day on the job, Thompson assured her audience, she will follow up on the attempted crime.

    ?I didn?t know what to expect,? said the reporter. ?The last thing I thought is that he was going to the car to get a gun, but he was obviously angry. He wanted us to get out of there. We moved back but we are going to continue to follow the story with what happens to him, as well as the other three.?


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    Friday, March 23, 2012

    Urban Transport: Bicycling: Health Benefits

    Article source:

    Health Benefits of Cycling, written by Jerry Travers ??
    There are many health benefits that are associated with cycling. Let's look at a few of the major benefits:
    Cycling is one of the easiest ways to exercise
    You can ride a bicycle almost anywhere, at any time of the year, and without spending a fortune. Many people are put off doing certain sports because of the high level of skill that seems to be required, or perhaps because they can?t commit to a team sport due to time pressures. Most of us know how to cycle and once you have learned you don?t forget. All you need is a bike, a half an hour here or there when it suits, and a bit of confidence.
    Cycling builds strength and muscle tone
    Contrary to normal perceptions, cycling is not a fitness activity that solely involves the legs. Cycling builds strength in a holistic manner since every single part of the body is involved in cycling.
    Cycling increases muscle tone
    Cycling improves general muscle function gradually, with little risk of over exercise or strain. Regular cycling strengthens leg muscles and is great for the mobility of hip and knee joints. You will gradually begin to see an improvement in the muscle tone of your legs, thighs, rear end and hips.
    Cycling builds stamina
    Cycling is a good way to build stamina. It is very effective in doing so,
    because people enjoy cycling and they wouldn?t really notice that they have
    gone farther the last time they went cycling.
    Cycling improves cardio-vascular fitness
    Cycling makes the heart pound in a steady manner and helps improve cardio-vascular fitness.? Studies have shown that cycling to work will increase cardiovascular fitness by 3-7%. Cycling uses the largest muscle groups the legs, raising heart rate to benefit stamina and fitness.
    Cycling eats up calories
    Cycling is a good way to lose those unwanted pounds. Steady cycling burns approximately 300 calories per hour. If you cycle for 30 minutes every day you would burn 11 pounds of fat in a year. Since it helps build muscle, cycling will also boost your metabolic rate long after you?ve finished your ride.
    Cycling improves heart health
    According to the British Medical Association, cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%. A major study of 10,000 civil servants suggested that those who cycled 20 miles over the period of a week were half as likely to suffer heart disease as their non-cycling colleagues.
    Cycling improves coordination
    Cycling is an activity that involves the whole body. Therefore, arm-to-leg, feet-to-hands and body-to-eye coordination are improved.
    Cycling reduces stress
    Any regular exercise can reduce stress and depression and improve well being and self esteem.? Cycling outdoors is also a good way to be one with nature and to feel the breath of the earth. It takes one?s mind out of everyday-life stress and rejuvenates his soul.

    Article source:

    The Health Benefits of Cycling

    Cycling for health and fitness

    It is widely acknowledged that cycling is one of the best ways for people to achieve good health and fitness. People who cycle regularly live longer than those who do not and lead healthier lives (Paffenbarger, Hyde, Wing and Hsieh, 1986). This simple fact means that cyclists cannot possibly be more vulnerable than the population at large to life-threatening injuries such as head injury.
    Indeed, cycling regularly to work (and, by extension, to school and on other regular journeys) has been shown to be the most effective thing an individual can do to improve health and increase longevity, and this applies even to people who are already active in sport and other physical activities (Andersen, Schnohr, Schroll and Hein, 2000). Cyclists typically have a level of fitness equivalent to being 10 years younger (Tuxworth, Nevill, White and Jenkins, 1986). A UK parliamentary health committee has noted:
    ?If the Government were to achieve its target of trebling cycling in the period 2000-2010 ? that might achieve more in the fight against obesity than any individual measure we recommend within this report.? (TSO 2004)
    The health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks (BMA, 1992) by a substantial margin. Estimated benefit:cost ratios range from 20 to 1 to more than 77:1 (Hillman, 1992; Rabl and de Nazelle, 2011; Rojas-Rueda et al, 2011). Safe though cycling is by comparison with other common activities, it has been shown that cycling becomes safer still the more people who do it - for a doubling in cycle use, risk decreases by a third (Jacobsen, 2003; Robinson, 2005b)
    However, the converse of the above is also true. If fewer people cycle, perhaps because they have been deterred by cycle helmet laws or the exaggerated claims sometimes made to promote helmet wearing, then the health loss to both individuals and society is considerable, whilst those who continue to cycle will be at greater risk. It is likely that few people who quit cycling recover the loss of health benefits through other activity.

    Principal references

    Frob?se, 2004
    Cavill and Davis, 2007

    Health benefits

    Below are summarised some of the health benefits of cycling, for the individual and society as a whole. Many of the benefits are not unique to cycling but are a consequence of moderate physical activity. In several cases, however, cycling enables that benefit to be achieved more easily, more widely or more effectively.
    This should not be regarded as an authoritative treatment of the subject, relying as it does on the primary sources (Frob?se, 2004; Cavill and Davis, 2007) referenced below. Those sources provide much more detailed information and full references.

    Immune system

    The immune system serves to protect the body from infections and diverse systemic diseases. Studies show that moderate activity, such as cycling, strengthens the immune system and thus contributes to a healthy life. It can also increase activity against tumour cells, assisting the prevention of related illnesses.


    Humans have several hundred muscles, which have to be used regularly in order to maintain fitness and health. A week of inactivity reduces the strength of the muscular system by up to 50% and can harm them long-term. This is particularly true for older people as aging causes muscles to shrink.
    During cycling, most of the body's muscles are activated. The leg muscles are responsible for the pedalling movement; the abdomen and back muscles stabilise the body on the cycle and cushion external influences; and the shoulder-arm muscular system supports the body at the handlebars. All this trains and tightens up the muscular system, making it stronger and able to function efficiently.

    The skeletal system

    This is the body's supporting framework, held together by muscles, tendons and ligaments. Exercise and the accompanying strain on the skeletal system strengthens it and increases mobility. Cycling has a positive effect on bone density and strength. Moreover, a muscular system strengthened by cycling supports and protects the skeletal system.

    Spinal diseases and back pains

    Posture when cycling is optimum, and the cyclic movement of the legs stimulates muscles in the lower back, where slipped discs are most likely to occur. In this way the spine is strengthened and secured against external stresses. In particular cycling can stimulate the small muscles of the vertebrae which are difficult to affect through other exercise. This can help reduce the likelihood of back pains and other problems.

    Joint protection

    Cycling is especially good at protecting and feeding cartilages as the support given by the bicycle means that the forces that act as a result of body weight are significantly reduced. The circular movement of cycling assists the transport of energy and other metabolic produces to the cartilages, reducing the likelihood of arthrosis.

    Balance and equilibrium

    Physical activity serves as a regulator to relieve the stress that is common in current lifestyles. It produces the balance between exertion and relaxation which is so important for the body's inner equilibrium. Cycling is especially ideal for this process, countering stress in two ways: by satisfying the need for activity where people lack movement or exercise; and by balancing out increased strain, particularly mental and emotional.

    Mental stress

    Cycling has a considerable relaxing effect due to its uniform, cyclic movement which stablises the physical and emotional functions of the body. This counteracts anxiety, depression and other psychological problems. The exercise also controls hormonal balance.

    Oxygen and circulation

    Oxygen is vital for all biological organisms and the basic prerequisite for the respiratory processes of humans. Respiration is often impaired by adiposity and lack of exercise. Among other things, regular physical activity strengthens the respiratory muscles, which leads to improved ventilation of the lungs and thus has a positive effect on oxygen exchange. Enormous positive health effects can be achieved in energy uptake and processing, through moderate cycling.

    Heart and cardiovascular diseases

    The heart is one of the most important organisms for a healthy life but can be damaged by inactivity. Cycling is ideal for training the heart to be stronger which results in less stress of the heart. All the risk factors that lead to a heart attack are reduced and regular cycling reduces the likelihood of heart attack by more than 50%.

    Body weight, adiposity and obesity

    Cycling is ideal for targeting these problems as 70% of the body's weight is borne by the saddle, thus enabling people who could not otherwise move easily to exercise to increase their physical fitness and stimulate fat metabolism. Cycling also contributes to weight reduction by burning energy.

    Body fat and hypercholesterol

    Cycling can train the organism to use up fat reserves and also changes the cholesterol balance, favouring the protective kind over that which is threatening to health. As body weight reduces and cholesterol is optimised, a protective mechanism is enabled by continuing to cycle. Regular exercise during youth is a prevention factor against excessive body weight in adults.

    Blood pressure

    Moderate cycling can prevent, or at least reduce, high blood pressure and so help to avoid stroke or damage to the organs. Blood pressure is also reduced by a lower heart rate, which is a result of regular cycling.


    Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of colon, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers, and possibly lung and endometrial cancers too.


    Cycling is especially good for aerobic exercise as the strain on the body is less than in other endurance sports. Improved stamina reduces tiredness and fatigue and promotes a sense of well-being..

    Beauty and attractiveness

    Beauty and attractiveness are much linked to body shape and condition. Cycling can positively influence these by controlling body weight and muscular form. Skin also benefits from the metabolic processes that are stimulated. In addition, cycling affects physical feeling which influences the perception of others.

    Physical workout

    In addition to regular moderate exercise, the body benefits from more demanding activity from time to time, which improves fitness and provides greater diversion from everyday problems. Cycling can provide more intensive activity as easily as by pedalling faster or harder.

    Quality of life

    Physical activity has a direct effect on well-being and health. Cycling has numerous advantages that can directly affect quality of life, as it provides benefits both physically and emotionally. Regular exercise, taken as an integral part of daily life, is needed to permanently enhance the quality of life.

    Secondary benefits

    More cycling, especially as an alternative to motor vehicle travel, would bring substantial health benefits for society as a whole due to improved air quality, reduced noise and danger, and greater independence for children.


    Andersen, Schnohr, Schroll and Hein, 2000 - Andersen LB, Schnohr P, Schroll M, Hein HO, 2000. All-cause mortality associated with physical activity during leisure time, work, sports, and cycling to work. Arch Intern Med 2000 Jun 12;160(11):1621-8.BMA, 1992 - Cycling towards health and safety. British Medical Association ISBN 0-19-286151-4.1992.Frob?se, 2004 - Frob?se I, 2004. Cycling and health compendium. Wellcom / Selle .Hillman, 1992 - Hillman M, 1992. Cycling and the promotion of health. PTRC 20th Summer Annual Meeting Seminar B, pp 25-36.

    See also

    ??Link?? League of American Bicyclists
    Where you can get a host of information ranging from bicycle maintenance, to rules of the road, to tips for commuters, to whatever you need to know about bicycling. Where the latest information on bicycle events is posted and where you can learn what bicycle friendly communities are doing across the country.

    ??Link?? National Center for Bicycling and Walking
    NCBWis an advocacy organization supporting bicycle friendly and walkable communities across North America. The mission of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking is to change the way communities are planned, designed, and managed to ensure that people of all ages and abilities can walk and bike easily, safely, and regularly.

    ??Link?? Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
    A great resource for everything you need to know about bicycle helmets. Including a consumer?s guide to buying a helmet, state laws pertaining to helmets, and a step by step method to assure that you are wearing your helmet in a proper fit.

    ??Link?? Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
    On this site you can get information on bicycling basics, bicycling solutions and bicycling resources.

    ??Link?? Senior Cycling
    Senior Cycling is a touring company geared toward seniors (over 50). They offer a wide range of tours for bikers of all levels from beginners to advanced. Visit this site to find a schedule of tours, information on accommodations and more.

    Source of information: FHWA

    Health and Environmental Benefits of Walking and Bicycling

    Over the years researchers have tried to determine the benefits of walking and bicycling on environmental (e.g., vehicle emissions and fuel use reductions) and health (e.g., physical activity and body-mass-index) measures. The following References list summarizes these research reports and describes what types of measures the authors quantified. The measures include:
    • Fuel--fossil fuel use
    • Emissions--CO2 (carbon dioxide), CO (carbon monoxide), NOx (nitrogen oxides), and VOC (volatile organic compounds);
    • Congestion--roadway congestion at peak travel times;
    • VMT--vehicle miles traveled;
    • Health--a general category for health measures (e.g., body mass index or increased physical activity).


    Research with Environmental and Physical Health Measures

    • Active Transportation for America
      Rails to Trails Conservancy, 2008
      This report forecasts the fuel, health, economic, and monetary benefits of increased walking and bicycling.
      Measures: fuel, emissions (CO2, CO, NOx, VOC), VMT, health
    • New Data for a New Era: A Summary of the SMARTRAQ Findings
      Lawrence D. Frank et al., 2007
      This report links land use, transportation, air quality, and health in the Atlanta region.
      Measures: fuel, emissions (CO2, CO, NOx, VOC), VMT, health
    • Quantifying the Benefits of Nonmotorized Travel
      Todd Litman, 2004
      Investigated the opportunity for walking and bicycling to address congestion reduction, environmental and social benefits.
      Measures: fuel, emissions, congestion, health
    • Valuing the Benefits of Cycling
      SQW Limited, 2007
      A study from the United Kingdom that estimates health, congestion, emissions, and monetary benefits of bicycling.
      Measures: fuel, emissions (CO2), congestion, health

    Research Measures that Focus on Environmental Benefits Only

    • Interim Report to the U.S. Congress on the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program SAFETEA-LU Section 1807
      US Department of Transportation, 2008
      Calculates the vehicle miles avoided in the four Pilot Program communities.
      Measures: VMT
    • Saving Oil and Reducing CO2 Emissions in Transport: Options and Strategies
      International Energy Agency, 2001
      This international report estimates CO2 savings for various conservation strategies including nonmotorized transportation.
      Measures: emissions (CO2)
    • The Environmental Benefits of Bicycling and Walking: FHWA Case Study #15
      Federal Highway Administration, 1993. (Out of Print)
      Examines emissions displaced based on data in 1991 and projects future emissions savings for the year 2000.
      Measures: fuel, emissions (CO2, CO, NOx, VOC)
    • Bicycle Transportation for Energy Conservation
      DOT P-80-092
      US Department of Transportation, Office of the Secretary, 1980 (Out of Print)
      This study the potential energy conservation with increased rates of bicycling.
      Measures: fuel, emissions (CO, NOx), VMT
    • Many Pathways from Land Use to Health
      Lawrence D. Frank et al., 2006
      Evaluated walkability and health-related outcomes in King County, Washington.
      Measures: emissions (VOC, NOx)

    Research Measures that Focus on Physical Health Only

    • Walkability and Body Mass Index
      Ken R. Smith et al., 2008
      Correlates walkability indicators with body mass index.
      Measures: health
    • Does the Built Environment Influence Physical Activity
      Transportation Research Board and Institute of Medicine, 2005
      A joint study committee of the Transportation Research Board and the Institute of Medicine has recommended research strategies to gain practical guidance on cost-beneficial investments and changes in the built environment that would encourage increased levels of physical activity.
      Measures: health

    Economic Health Benefits Of Bikes For Commuting

    A study published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives shows that swapping your car for short trips and replacing them with mass transit and active transport provides major health benefits. The study will be presented to the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C. $3.8 billion per year are saved in avoided mortality and reduced health care costs for obesity and heart disease by replacing half of the short journeys with bicycle trips during the warmest six months of the year.
    The researchers calculated that an estimated $7 billion including 1,100 lives from improved air quality and increased physical fitness can be saved each year by applying these measures.
    Jonathan Patz, director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison says that changing from cars to bicycles for five-mile trips is a win-win situation. He adds: "We talk about the cost of changing energy systems, the cost of alternative fuels, but we seldom talk about this kind of benefit."
    Researchers first identified the reduction of air pollution that could be achieved from eliminating short car trips in 11 metropolitan statistical areas in the upper Midwest.
    The study of the largest 11 metropolitan statistical areas in the upper Midwest began by identifying the air pollution reductions that would result from eliminating the short auto trips.
    Co-author Scott Spak, previously working on the study at US-Madison and now at the University of Iowa, said that a small average reduction in very fine particles that lodge deep within the lung and have repeatedly been associated with asthma and deaths caused by cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases was a major source of health benefits. In the U.S., 8.2% of the population suffers from asthma. Spak added: "The reductions tend to be much larger during high pollution episodes, and even small changes reduce a chronic exposure that affects the 31.3 million people living throughout the region - not just in these metropolitan areas, but even hundreds of miles downwind."
    The projected prognosis of the study showed that 433 lives could be saved due to the reduction in fine particles.
    In the next step researchers assessed the health benefits of using a bicycle on short trips during the most feasible six months for cycling with optimum weather.
    Leading author Maggie Grabow, a Ph.D. candidate at UW-Madison's Nelson Institute, who will also present the study to the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C. states:
    "Obesity has become a national epidemic, and not getting exercise has lot to do with that. The majority of Americans do not get the recommended minimum level of exercise. In a busy daily schedule, if that exercise can automatically occur while commuting to work, we anticipate a major benefit in stemming the obesity epidemic, and consequently a significant reduction in type II diabetes, which is a deadly epidemic in its own right."
    Patz, an environmental health specialist in the Department of Population Health Sciences comments that overall, the study did not include the financial savings made due to the reduction in using cars and therefore benefits of eliminating short car journeys could be underestimated. Neither did the study attempt to account for the health benefits of the 'saved' car journeys that would be replaced by walking or using public transport, both of which provide an additional amount of exercise.
    Although Patz acknowledges that eliminating all short car journeys is unrealistic, he says that riding bikes as a method of transport is gaining popularity in the U.S., and points out that about 50% of short trips are made cycling in some Northern European cities asking, "If they have achieved this, why should we not think we can achieve it too?"
    He states that in the last few years Chicago and New York as well as other cities have injected substantial resources into the bicycle infrastructure adding that this new study should further motivate other cities to make their surroundings more bicycle-friendly by providing better parking opportunities, fit bike racks on buses and trains and build more bicycle lanes and in particular separate bicycle paths. He says: "Part of this is a call for making our biking infrastructure safer. If there are so many health benefits out there, we ought to try to redesign our cities to achieve them without putting new riders at risk."
    A reduction in the use of fossil fuels also includes reducing car usage, both of which benefit the climate, says Patz, adding:
    "Transportation accounts for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, so if we can swap bikes for cars, we gain in fitness, local air quality, a reduction in greenhouse gases, and the personal economic benefits of biking rather than driving. It's a four-way win."
    Written by Petra Rattue


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    Effective Math Groups for the Elementary ... - Education - EzineMark

    If you have not utilized math groups before, this is one teaching practice that can have an extreme impact on performance and achievement in your classroom.
    From my personal experience, I was always terrified of placing students into groups. On the rare occasion when I did try to have group work time during math, chaos would erupt and I found myself running from group to group in a frantic manner completely burnt out after an hour ready to go home and tap a nap.
    Why didn't my groups work for me? That was the question that haunted me time after time.?
    Even when I carefully placed students in groups that I felt were leveled appropriately, and with students that could interact well with one another, my group experience continued to fail miserably.
    After reflecting back on my experience, and having a few conversations with colleagues, I realized the error of my ways.
    No matter how well the groups are organized or how great the activity is, the students need to learn what the group rules and expectations are before a single activity is attempted.?
    This is crucial for groups to be effective!
    The students need to know exactly what your expectations of behavior are, what the procedures are from start to finish, and how they are to conduct themselves while in their group.
    Students need to be taught explicitly how to work in groups. They need to know what you expect of them. They need to know what is appropriate and what isn't.?
    Think of all possible scenarios that could arise throughout group work time and answer those questions prior to beginning groups in your classroom.
    For example, how are the students supposed to ask questions when they are stuck or encounter a problem? What do students do if they finish early? What will be the signal you give for starting and stopping - a bell, timer, hand clap??

    These are just a few things you need to address when teaching the students how math groups are supposed to function in the class.
    Implementing Math Groups In Your Class?--------------------------------------
    Another key component to utilizing groups for math is that the group themselves need to frequently change.?
    What I really think is beneficial about our math workshop time is the students get to work in a small group that is constantly changing. Just because Student A is in the "Gets It" group this week doesn't mean that this will be true next week. It is all dependent on each students' need, which means there needs to be some type of assessment for the teacher to make this determination.?
    Therefore, before I assign/redesign groups, I give a quick assessment to check and see at what level the student is performing. Simply 3-5 problems to let me know where they fit into one of three categories:?
    1: "Needs Help" - need re-teaching?
    spacer15.jpg2: "Gets It" - just need practice?
    spacer15.jpg3: "Watch Out!" - ready to take it to the next level
    Keep in mind, just because a particular student is having difficulty with multiplication and needs extra assistance and accommodations, that may not be true for when you are working on place value, or geometry.
    In this situation when you are working with multiplication, that certain student might be placed in the "Needs Help" group, but during geometry, that student could possibly be in the "Gets It" group.
    My class is currently divided into 5 groups with each group consisting of 5-6 students. This allows me to have relatively small group sizes and at the same time, it gives me the opportunity to work with one group per day during our math workshop time. I am then able to get to all five groups each week.
    A typical plan that I like to use during math time for my fifth grade students is to teach a mini-lesson for the entire group which generally lasts for 20-25 minutes. Afterwards we will break into our math groups which I refer to as "Math Workshop Time".?
    For example, last week we were working with adding and subtracting integers. Two groups were working to master the concept of a number line and positive/negative integers ("Needs Help"), one group was working on mixed addition and subtraction problems while another group on a computers/laptops using a number line interactive game I found online ("Gets It"), and the last group was working on higher order thinking problem solving strategies ("Watch Out!").
    In Conclusion

    If you have not used math groups before, hopefully you have been inspired to implement them in your classroom. If set up properly and taught explicitly, they can have an immense impact with your students.
    Just remember to teach students exactly what is expected during math groups time and make sure they adhere to your expectations. Doing so will help ensure the time spent in math groups becomes a valuable instructional tool.


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