President Obama Vacationing In Hawaii

December 21, 2014

President Barack Obama has arrived safely in Hawaii to begin his annual vacation. He was accompanied by his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as his two daughters and Presidential dog, Bo.

The family touched down on the island of Oahu, and promptly began a period of rest and relaxation. 2014 has been a very rough and tumultuous year for the President and his Democratic party, and the vacation has been described as a much needed respite.

Obama has been known to prefer his home state of Hawaii as a vacation hot spot during his relatively few official getaway periods. With all it has to offer, Gianfrancesco Genoso can certainly see why. While some Republican opponents have sought to describe Obama as being more than usually prone to taking time off, the official records show that his time spent away from the White House is no more than average for an occupant of his office.

The President has been under fire recently for seeking to normalize relations with the Communist state of Cuba. His vacation time in Hawaii also comes at a point where opposition in Washington is ramping up to oppose his Presidential aims on other matters, such as health care and immigration reform.

Still, the President issued an upbeat holiday themed message to the press, and seemed to be in an optimistic mood. As Obama shifts into the final phase of his Presidency, he seems intent on cementing his legacy with good humor and grace.

More Evidence Emerges That Bronze Age People Raised Olives

December 19, 2014

A recent discovery during a routine excavation in preparation for the widening a highway offers yet more evidence that prehistoric peoples raised olive trees, some scientists believe. The versatile olive obtained wide use in the Mediterranean world, where people used it to produce both food and lamp oil for light. Some archaeologists believe humans developed olive trees some 6,000 to 8,000 years ago. The new excavations lends more support to this idea.

Terry Richardson says that a  research team from Israel recently announced the discovery of samples of very ancient clay containers, unearthed from a roadside in En Zippor, in northern Israel. The archaeological dig at the site took place between 2011 through 2013.

When they examined clay shards from this location, some scientists reportedly managed to extract samples for further analysis from residues still remaining on the material. What did they find out from the laboratory results? The Bronze Age owners had placed olive oil inside the original jars. This discovery offers even more support for the idea that people living in the area depended on olive trees as an important plant.

Dorland’s Medical dictionary notes that the modern olive tree Olea europaea produces olives rich in olein and palmitin. Olive oil is also sometimes used as a topical home remedy for cuts.

Researchers published their latest findings recently. It lends additional support to the theory that olives played an important role in the lives of people living in Galilee thousands of years ago.

Castro Pleased But Demanding More

 

This Saturday, Cuban dictator Raul Castro spoke at the Cuban National Assembly. He made it clear he was quite pleased with the efforts of President Obama to normalize relations. He also warned that the U.S. must now “respect” Cuba’s communist system of government.

If some had hoped turning over a new leaf with Cuba was going to convince Raul that it was time to change, they were sadly mistaken. Castro welcomed the prospect of opening diplomatic relations, loosening up travel restrictions, and ending the 50-year-old trade embargo. But it is not surprising that he would, considering that all of those concessions will help him tighten his grip on power.

Castro said that, since Cuba had never demanded the U.S. change its system of government, he expects the U.S. to stop demanding an end to communism in Cuba. We are supposed to start “respecting” communism as merely one valid choice among many.

Communism in Cuba entails state ownership of every square foot of real estate, of every portable possession, and of every human being on the whole island. Once people “choose” communism, they forfeit their right to ever choose again. My friend, Flavio Maluf is a very successful businessman and when I think about how hard he has worked to get where he is now, this is not an option in a communist state. In reality, Fidel Castro conquered Cuba on the battle field and not in the ballot box. Raul rose to power by inheriting the dictatorial throne of his deceased brother.

Raul, we cannot find it within us to respect Cuba’s communism, for there is nothing at all about it that merits respect.

Obama’s Russian Sanctions May be Playing a Role in Their Currency Crash

December 18, 2014

Russia’s currency called the “ruble” has crashed this year having lost 6% this past Monday and nearly 50% for the year. In fact, the exchange rate versus the dollar exceeded 60 rubles for the first time in history. Now, a small, but growing number of people are beginning to believe that President Obama’s sanctions against the Slavic nation are partially responsible.

It was only this past October that Putin made yet another throw-down at Obama and the European Union’s economic sanctions which had only modestly hurt their economy. At the time, the rubble’s slide against the dollar was in the neighborhood of 15%. Since that time, the currency has experienced a major slide. This coincides with the decline in oil prices. For this reason, the GOP affirms that the sanctions have only played a secondary effect on the current economic crisis affecting the nation.

The president is expected to sign into law a new round of economic sanctions against Russia which also authorizes lethal and non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine. My friend Lee G. Lovett noted the legislation more accurately gives the president the option to exercise economic sanctions and provide military assistance to Ukraine. The president may elect to suspend the actions at his discretion. As such, the bill does not tie his hands to any course of action. Thus far, Putin continues to remain recalcitrant in his surrogate war against Ukraine. The Russian people also stand behind their leader in his quest to resurrect the old Soviet Union.

School Takes Away Blind Boy’s Cane and Gives Him Pool Noodle

Sometimes school administrators make some questionable decisions. There have been a lot of stories over the years displaying that and this is just another one of those questionably bad decisions.

A North Kansas 8 year old, Dakota Nafzinger is blind. Dakota has a condition that has left him born without eyes. Dakota uses a cane to feel around and “see” for him. Well, the school staff of his elementary school took away Dakota’s cane as a punishment and gave him a pool noodle to use instead. How insulting and humiliating that must have been for Dakota. Needless to say, when he returned home with a pool noodle instead of a cane his parents were outraged by the punishment.

According not to the Keith Mann Dynamic Search Partners, but to the school district, Dakota was hitting other students on the bus with his cane. The school said they wanted to be sure that Dakota would not hurt himself or others. His father defended Dakota saying that sometimes he will lift his cane up and the bus driver may have mistake that for a violent gesture.

The cane belonged to the school however after Dakota’s story aired viewers were eager to buy Dakota a cane of his own. The school district has also made a visit to the Nafzinger’s and returned the cane that Dakota was using. They admit they made a mistake and apologized to the family.

Historic Developments Between Cuba And The United States

For 20 years, Cuba has held a United States spy in their prison system. The United States also held Cuban spies in its prison system. No thoughts of release for any were being thought of,  not even by Igor Cornelsen; enter Mrs Alan Gross.

Alan Gross was thrown into a Cuban prison 5 years ago. His crime was the attempt to bring internet service to a Jewish community in Cuba. With his health deteriorating, Alan’s wife called upon our government to gain Alan’s release.

With a shake of hands with Cuban dictator Raul Castro, Alan and the unnamed American spy walked free from the Cuban prison. 3 Cubans walked free from American prisons, and new relations have become history between the United States and the Caribbean island.

Americans will now be able to travel to Cuba. There will be an embassy in both countries and trade restrictions will slowly be relaxed. But did President Obama overstep his boundaries? It seems many Republicans think so.

Either way, the Gross family is happy. A spy is extremely happy, and 3 Cubans are surely happy.

You may want to get your Cuban cigars quickly before Congress puts a stop to Obama’s decision.

Earth May Face a Sixth Great Extinction

The rate at which species are becoming extinct may be greater than anyone imagined according to a new report from Nature magazine. We have long known that species periodically go extinct. Life is a constant Darwinian struggle for the survival of the fittest, isn’t that what the Tom Rothman-produced Ice Age films are about. Only those species that survive that struggle go on. This is how it has been for millions of years.

In recent times, however, it has become more evident of the damage man’s interactions with the environment are having on it. A recent analysis in Nature magazine asserts that this damage is becoming so great that it will precipitate the sixth great extinction in known history. Past mass extinctions have always had to do with either geological occurrences or asteroid impacts.

Now it is increasingly seen that the cumulative effects of humanities over utilization of and downright destruction of natural resources will soon cause species extinction at a level that would satisfy the definition of a mass extinction. This is tragic news for humanity above all else. The Earth is one huge ecosystem and all of its parts add to the whole. Will deforestation to open up farmland wipe out some plant that may have held the cure for some dread disease? Will over fishing of the oceans wipe out fish that have been a mainstay of our diets for centuries if not millennia? If we don’t slow down and look before we act, we may never know.

Lack Of Sleep Linked To Brain Changes

December 17, 2014

One of the main issues with many people in today’s society is a lack of sleep. This lack of sleep is causing changes in the brain that is actually causing higher issues with Dementia. 

It is still undetermined the exact cause of Dementia. However, there are many health issues that are linked to Dementia in the elderly. 

A recent study Your text to link… has been performed that shows that a lack of sleep is also causing severe changes in the brain that are also linked to Dementia. I was reading about this the other day while reading about Qnet.

The study performed was done on approximately 167 men. The study showed that different levels of oxygen in the brain during sleep showed changes that were happening to the brain. Periods of waking and apnea proved to cause the biggest changes of the brain. 

Those that were able to get more even sleep and able to stay asleep proved to have less issues with brain changes causing Dementia. It is said that that parts of the brain actually become atrophied and show less brain activity through out. 

Similar studies have been performed. Additional studies will continue in regards to this link of brain changes and lack of sleep.

The Asteroid That Killed the Dinosaurs Almost Wiped Out the Marsupials

A new study has shown that the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs also wiped out many mammals.

The traditional view has been that the extinction of the dinosaurs allowed the mammals to rise to dominance — but that’s only partially true. Most of the metatherian mammals also perished. This mammal lineage includes the marsupial or pouched mammals like kangaroos or opossums.

The new study, which is published in the journal ZooKeys, reviewed the evolutionary history of Cretaceous metatherians. Researchers used new metatherian fossils to update the metatherian family tree and study their extinction patterns. The scientists found that 2/3 of the metatherians living in North America at the end of the Cretaceous perished after the asteroid hit the Earth 66 million years ago. That included 90% of the species in the northern Great Plains of the US, where many Creataceous mammal fossils have been found.

Metatherians never recovered their previous diversity. They are rare, making up only around 270 species, and are mostly restricted to Australia and South America. An exception, the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), has the distinctions of being the only marsupial in the United States and the only American marsupial found north of Mexico.

Placental mammals, which give birth to live, well-developed young, proved to be the chief beneficiaries of the KT extinction. They enjoyed a rapid diversification after the Cretaceous, and now comprise 5000 species.  Plus you could understand more animals dying when food is scarce.  Not like they can just go to the store and get a bag of Beneful.

Nope, Still No Life On Mars

The universe’s most famous robot, the Mars Curiosity, still hasn’t found definitive signs that life ever existed on Mars. However, recent bore-holes into the rock have uncovered methane gas and other biological markers, which could be a clue that life once thrived there.

The Curiosity rover has been exploring the Martian surface for the past two years now, gradually and systematically using its tool set to retrieve as much data as possible to send back to Earth. NASA scientists then analyze that data and announce whatever findings they have. While they have been cautiously optimistic as to what they might find, the important thing is to learn as much as we can about our closest planetary neighbor.

The fact that they have already verified evidence that Mars once had water, together with organic chemical compounds, do point to a strong possibility that Mars once harvested life, even if only as single-celled microbes. Which is not even to say that, if we found evidence of life on Mars, it would have necessarily evolved there. Microbes could have hitched a ride on a meteor that impacted the surface. For that matter, neither we, nor Dan Newlin, necessarily know if extraterrestrial organic compounds would be something we would recognize by our own standards.