Monthly Archives: October 2013

San Francisco Chronicle to stop using ‘Redskins’ in print

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Chronicle has joined a growing list of publications that will no longer use the term ”Redskins” when referring to Washington’s NFL team.

Managing Editor Audrey Cooper said Wednesday that the newspaper’s style committee decided to eliminate the term because of a long-standing policy against using racial slurs.

”Not everyone has to be personally offended by a word to make it a slur,” Cooper said in a statement titled ”A name unfit for print.”

”Make no mistake,” she said, ”’redskin’ is a patently racist term.”

The newspaper’s committee decided that though other team names, like the Chiefs and the Warriors, refer to Native Americans, they are not offensive in and of themselves and will continue to be used.

As for ”redskins,” she said in a telephone interview, ”we are in the process of eliminating the use of the term in agate and stories.”

The debate about whether the term is in fact an epithet has raged for decades, particularly in sports and media. The Chronicle’s style council revisited the issue last month at the request of Scott Ostler, one of its sports columnists, who has written advocating that the team change its name.

The Chronicle joins several other publications that have made the same decision over the years, including the Kansas City Star, Slate.com, and the Portland Oregonian, which dropped the term more than two decades ago. Sportscaster Bob Costas has also spoken out against the use of the word.

Cooper said the Chronicle will simply refer to the team as ”Washington” in most cases. It will use the ”Redskins” only when not using it would be confusing for readers, such as in a story about the controversy surrounding the term.

”We have a responsibility to set the tone for civil discourse,” Cooper said. ”That doesn’t mean we set the rules, but it does mean we can lead by example.”

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/sf-chronicle-stop-using-redskins-013221604–nfl.html
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Facebook tests new version of Messenger for Android with a refreshed look, quicker access to chats

Starting today, Facebook is testing a “faster and more reliable” Messenger app for Android users. For starters, the mobile software is getting a new look which boasts easier navigation of the chatting landscape. Tapping across the top of the app’s UI and swiping left or right will now reveal recent …

Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/RSHFzzGheaU/
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US consumer confidence plunges on gov’t shutdown

In this Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, photo, a shopper browses at a Timberland store in Skokie, Ill. The Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for October on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans’ confidence in the economy fell this month to the lowest level since April, as many worried about the impact of a 16-day partial government shutdown. The decline could weigh on spending and economic growth.

The Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence dropped to 71.2 in October, down from 80.2 the previous month. September’s figure was slightly higher than initially reported.

Consumers grew particularly pessimistic in their outlook on the economy six months from now, while their assessment of current economic conditions declined by much less. They also expect less hiring in the months ahead. Consumers’ confidence is closely watched because their spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

Americans were more confident in the spring as job gains were healthy and economic growth improved. The Conference Board’s measure reached 82.1 in June, the highest in 5 ½ years. That’s still below the reading of 90 that is consistent with a healthy economy.

Confidence has dropped in three of the four months since June. The shutdown already caused a drop this month in the University of Michigan’s measure of consumer sentiment. Americans made more negative references to the federal government’s impact on the economy in October than at any time in the 50-year history of the survey, the university said.

Falling confidence can cause Americans to spend less, which would slow economic growth. But sometimes consumers spend more, even when they say they are less confident.

Weaker job growth is also weighing on consumers’ outlook. Employers added an average of just 143,000 jobs a month from July through September. That’s down from 182,000 a month in April through June and 207,000 in the first three months of the year.

Sluggish spending could slow economic growth. Most economists predict growth slowed in the July-September quarter to an annual rate of about 1.5 percent to 2 percent, down from a 2.5 percent rate in the April-June quarter. And the shutdown is likely to keep growth at a tepid pace for the final three months of the year.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/us-consumer-confidence-plunges-govt-shutdown-143555069–finance.html
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For Digital Natives, Childhood May Never Be The Same

Our children these days might be called digital natives, kids who grow up surrounded by and immersed in digital media. How does that affect childhood? How might it affect their adulthood? This week All Tech Considered kicks off a week of stories about kids and technology.

Source: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=241449510&ft=1&f=1019
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Qualcomm: Nokia Lumia 2520 “Bigger, Faster, Lower Power” Than Microsoft’s Surface 2

If you, like me, took some offline time this weekend, we’re a bit late to the latest slap fight in the world of Windows RT. Until recently, there was only one functional player in the Windows RT space – Microsoft, and its Surface 2 tablet – but Nokia has stepped into the ring, and one of its suppliers is talking a little trash.

No shame in that, of course, bragging is as old as language, but how Qualcomm – the supplier of the Nokia Lumia 2520 Windows RT tablet’s processor – is taking the Surface 2 to task is interesting.

Both the Nokia 2520 and the Surface 2 run Windows RT, so when it comes to software, they are on parity. Certainly, you could argue that the Surface 2 might behave better with Windows RT than rival devices, given that Microsoft builds both, but that’s edge work.

Qualcomm, as quoted by CNet, thinks that the Lumia 2520  is “bigger, faster, [and] lower power” than Microsoft’s rival Surface 2 tablet. Ok.

The kicker to this is that, for the Surface line of tablet hybrids, the hardware component of the devices has largely not been the point of complaint raised by reviewers and users. Instead, it’s been the software that the Surface devices run on – Windows 8 at first, and now Windows 8. 1- that was the sticking point. Windows 8 was not ready at launch. And Windows 8.1 has yet to be tested against consumer demand.

Why Qualcomm is trumpeting the “speeds and feeds” of the Lumia 2520 is simple: It provides the silicon that powers the device. Microsoft’s Surface 2 runs on Nvidia chips.

Keep in mind, however, that Microsoft is in the process of buying the Nokia assets that built the Lumia 2520, so we could see reconciliation. For now, however, Nokia’s tablet does directly challenge its future brother. Microsoft recently reported that Surface unit volume doubled in its most recent quarter, compared with the sequentially preceding quarter. Surface revenue totaled $400 million for that period.

Here’s the question: Will the Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 markets become akin to the Android realm, where OEMs race to best the hardware specifications of their rivals in their devices?

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/qp0OxFjc-Io/
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UAlberta medical researchers discover potential new treatment for colitis

UAlberta medical researchers discover potential new treatment for colitis

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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

23-Oct-2013

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Contact: Raquel Maurier
rmaurier@ualberta.ca
780-492-5986
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

A drug currently on the market to treat leukemia reversed symptoms of colitis in lab tests, according to recently published findings by medical researchers with the University of Alberta.

Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researcher Shairaz Baksh published his team’s discovery in the peer-reviewed journal, PLOS ONE.

His team discovered that a tumour-suppressor gene can also play an important role in the development of colitis. When this gene quits working or is missing, the inflammation process is triggered and the body loses its ability to repair damaged colon tissue. This leads to severe discomfort and poor recovery following bouts of inflammation. Persistent inflammation is prevalent in inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).

Baksh and his team wondered if they could interfere with the inflammation process and encourage the body to repair the damaged tissue, so the disease would be less severe and patients could recover more quickly from any flare-ups. The team used a leukemia drug (imatinib/gleevec) that has been on the market for years to treat normal mice and mice that were missing the tumour-suppressor gene.

“The treatment reversed the symptoms of colitis,” says Baksh. “We are on the cusp of a new treatment for this condition that affects 150,000 Canadians. We are pretty excited about the impact of this finding.

“We are trying to inhibit colitis by preventing the inflammation that is causing the damage. More importantly, by controlling or preventing the inflammation, we can reduce the likelihood that patients with ulcerative colitis develop colorectal cancer later in life. About half of these patients develop this type of cancer due to chronic inflammation.

“Our findings also suggest we may have identified novel biomarkers for the appearance and progression of inflammatory bowel disease.”

His team is continuing its work in this area and has discovered that other drugs currently on the market have the same effect in reducing the symptoms of colitis in mice. He hopes to publish the new drug study results very soon, and suspects a new treatment for colitis could be a combination of two to three drugs already on the market.

A combination drug therapy would need to undergo further testing in the lab, but could go to clinical trials in about five years since the medications are already approved.

About 0.5 per cent of Canadians have colitis. The incidence is higher in Alberta than in other provinces and studies are currently underway to identify the hot spots in the province. Genetics, diet and environment each play an important role in the development of the disease. Symptoms include weight loss, rectal bleeding and weight loss. Patients with the condition have ulcerated and inflamed colons, which are shorter than average and cause a great deal of discomfort.

Baksh examines the link between inflammation and cancer. About one-third of cancers start due to chronic inflammation, he says. For example, about 40 to 50 per cent of patients with ulcerative colitis (a form of inflammatory bowel disease) later develop colorectal cancer; those with chronic bronchitis are prone to developing lung cancer; and acute pancreatitis often leads to pancreatic cancer. Hence, there is a great need to understand how inflammation is a “pre-condition” for cancer, says Baksh.

Baksh is a researcher in the Department of Pediatrics, the Department of Biochemistry and the Division of Experimental Oncology.

His research was funded by Alberta Innovates Health Solutions, the Hair Massacure and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Tammy MacDonald, who founded the Hair Massacure fundraiser and helped fund this research, spoke of a young family member’s diagnosis with leukemia in 2000 – a diagnosis that would have been a death sentence at one time.

“Today, due to ongoing research and clinical trials, the odds of beating many cancers have significantly increased. Still, we have not found a cure. We felt that continuing the journey of research will inevitably lead us there.

“Dr. Baksh is our chosen researcher. We are extremely thankful for his expertise, passion and accountability. Dr. Baksh’s discovery and interest in colitis and inflammatory diseases, as it relates to pre-cancers, adds a more thorough approach to seeking proactive treatments that could prevent cancer.”


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UAlberta medical researchers discover potential new treatment for colitis

[ Back to EurekAlert! ]

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

23-Oct-2013

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]


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Contact: Raquel Maurier
rmaurier@ualberta.ca
780-492-5986
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

A drug currently on the market to treat leukemia reversed symptoms of colitis in lab tests, according to recently published findings by medical researchers with the University of Alberta.

Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry researcher Shairaz Baksh published his team’s discovery in the peer-reviewed journal, PLOS ONE.

His team discovered that a tumour-suppressor gene can also play an important role in the development of colitis. When this gene quits working or is missing, the inflammation process is triggered and the body loses its ability to repair damaged colon tissue. This leads to severe discomfort and poor recovery following bouts of inflammation. Persistent inflammation is prevalent in inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).

Baksh and his team wondered if they could interfere with the inflammation process and encourage the body to repair the damaged tissue, so the disease would be less severe and patients could recover more quickly from any flare-ups. The team used a leukemia drug (imatinib/gleevec) that has been on the market for years to treat normal mice and mice that were missing the tumour-suppressor gene.

“The treatment reversed the symptoms of colitis,” says Baksh. “We are on the cusp of a new treatment for this condition that affects 150,000 Canadians. We are pretty excited about the impact of this finding.

“We are trying to inhibit colitis by preventing the inflammation that is causing the damage. More importantly, by controlling or preventing the inflammation, we can reduce the likelihood that patients with ulcerative colitis develop colorectal cancer later in life. About half of these patients develop this type of cancer due to chronic inflammation.

“Our findings also suggest we may have identified novel biomarkers for the appearance and progression of inflammatory bowel disease.”

His team is continuing its work in this area and has discovered that other drugs currently on the market have the same effect in reducing the symptoms of colitis in mice. He hopes to publish the new drug study results very soon, and suspects a new treatment for colitis could be a combination of two to three drugs already on the market.

A combination drug therapy would need to undergo further testing in the lab, but could go to clinical trials in about five years since the medications are already approved.

About 0.5 per cent of Canadians have colitis. The incidence is higher in Alberta than in other provinces and studies are currently underway to identify the hot spots in the province. Genetics, diet and environment each play an important role in the development of the disease. Symptoms include weight loss, rectal bleeding and weight loss. Patients with the condition have ulcerated and inflamed colons, which are shorter than average and cause a great deal of discomfort.

Baksh examines the link between inflammation and cancer. About one-third of cancers start due to chronic inflammation, he says. For example, about 40 to 50 per cent of patients with ulcerative colitis (a form of inflammatory bowel disease) later develop colorectal cancer; those with chronic bronchitis are prone to developing lung cancer; and acute pancreatitis often leads to pancreatic cancer. Hence, there is a great need to understand how inflammation is a “pre-condition” for cancer, says Baksh.

Baksh is a researcher in the Department of Pediatrics, the Department of Biochemistry and the Division of Experimental Oncology.

His research was funded by Alberta Innovates Health Solutions, the Hair Massacure and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Tammy MacDonald, who founded the Hair Massacure fundraiser and helped fund this research, spoke of a young family member’s diagnosis with leukemia in 2000 – a diagnosis that would have been a death sentence at one time.

“Today, due to ongoing research and clinical trials, the odds of beating many cancers have significantly increased. Still, we have not found a cure. We felt that continuing the journey of research will inevitably lead us there.

“Dr. Baksh is our chosen researcher. We are extremely thankful for his expertise, passion and accountability. Dr. Baksh’s discovery and interest in colitis and inflammatory diseases, as it relates to pre-cancers, adds a more thorough approach to seeking proactive treatments that could prevent cancer.”


###


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]

 

AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-10/uoaf-umr102213.php
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Cruz in Iowa claims shutdown got people talking

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz argued to influential Iowa Republicans Friday that the partial government shutdown he help precipitate this month was a success despite a compromise that reopened the government and ultimately funded the health care law he has made his name fighting.

His reason: It got people talking.

“One of the things we accomplished in the fight over Obamacare is we elevated the national debate over what a disaster, what a train wreck, how much Obamacare is hurting millions of Americans across this country,” Cruz told about 600 Iowa Republicans at the state GOP’s annual fundraising dinner in Des Moines.

Cruz’s crusader’s spirit was the perfect example of what longtime Republicans in Iowa and nationally say is at the root of the party’s losing ways and has sparked an intraparty fight over the way forward after consecutive losing presidential elections.

It’s a conversation that’s spilling out from backstage to behind the podium between national GOP establishment luminaries and state leaders around the country.

Although he ultimately lost, the 42-year-old freshman senator who played a leading role bringing about the 16-day partial federal shutdown with his demand that President Barack Obama gut his 3-year-old health care law. He also successfully urged a core of House Republicans to follow suit.

The final and perhaps most important stop of Ted Cruz’s recent public tour was less an exclamation point on a series of raucous events in Texas and more a presentation of opposite ideas for the GOP’s way forward nationally.

Immediately before the Cruz spoke, five-term Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad barely acknowledged the guest and said the way forward for the party nationally was by way of the route cleared by Republican governors.

Branstad, 66, at the heart of Iowa’s GOP establishment, called Cruz “a bright, up-and-coming senator” before turning his attention to the tangible successes of Republican governors, beginning with Cruz’s own governor, Rick Perry of Texas.

“The results of conservative governors are making a difference,” said Branstad, who is preparing to seek election next year. “The results of conservative leadership in the departments make a difference. Compare the results in state after states.”

He pointed to Wisconsin and Michigan governors moves to trim union rights as reasons for falling unemployment, and Texas’ reduction in regulation for rising job growth.

Meanwhile Cruz argued during his 40-minute speech that the health care law enacted in 2010 was the main impediment to economic growth.

Cruz was vague after the speech about whether he would continue to try to defund the law in the future.

“There will be plenty of time the coming months to talk about specific tactics and strategies,” he told reporters later. “What I think is critical is we keep the focus on Obamacare, we keep the focus on the fact that this bill isn’t working.”

Cruz said Democratic senators asking Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebielius for an extension of the enrollment period was no surprise. But he wished they had called for its repeal or defunding, not “expand the enrollment period.”

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour pointedly accused tea party-fueled refusal to support spending measures during the shutdown foolhardy. Though Branstad wasn’t as direct, he has shown little patience for Congress over the past month, especially the drama surrounding Cruz, and has called for broadening the party to make it more welcoming to voters who have turned away from the GOP.

It was Cruz’s third visit to Iowa, which is expected to hold the leadoff GOP nominating caucuses ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He has not ruled out seeking the GOP nomination for president in 2016.

Cruz’ reception in Iowa was polite, but a far cry from the enthusiastic receptions he received on what was no less than a sort-of victory tour through Texas last week.

About 1,000 cheering for him to run for president met him in Arlington, near Dallas, imitating scenes from Houston and San Antonio.

Republican state Rep. Walt Rogers, a candidate for U.S. House, said he was a fan of Cruz’s efforts to derail the health care act, but wasn’t sure how it would affect Cruz’s future.

“I liked what he did, but is that going to resonate with the whole party?” said Rogers, who is running for Congress in the 1st Congressional District.

Matt Barr, a Republican from suburban Des Moines, said he too liked that Cruz, but for shaking up the old guard.

“I think he’s good for the party. He brings a new image to the party, a better image to the party,” Barr said. “The old guard is on the way out.”

___

Associated Press Correspondent Will Weissert contributed to this report from Arlington, Texas.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/cruz-iowa-claims-shutdown-got-people-talking-032345208–election.html
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