Excerpts of Key News Stories in Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of key news stories from the major media that suggest major cover-ups.
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If Anybody Ever Tells You It's Too Expensive To Solve The World's Problems, Show Them This
2014-01-29, Huffington Post
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:25:25
The world's problems are so staggering that they sometimes feel completely unchangeable. Every day seems to leave more suffering, disease and tragedy in its wake. There's no question that our problems are vast, but what would it really cost to solve some of greatest human tragedies we face? Here are some stats that put the world's problems in perspective: 1. For $26 billion more a year, we could provide a basic education to every child in the world by 2015. That's according to a UNESCO study published in Sept. 2013. That might seem like a lot, but let's consider that... The U.S. drops an annual $25 billion on golf. 2. For $990, a farmer can get training in dairy production and four milk-producing animals. A Heifer International "Cheeses of the World" basket provides a goat, a sheep, a water buffalo and a heifer so that a family living in poverty can produce and sell dairy products. That certainly isn't chump-change, but in the U.S... Families spend an average of $1,139 on [a] prom. 3. For $190 billion a year, we could cut the number of people without access to clean water and basic sanitation facilities in half. In 2012, the World Health Organization predicted that its Millennium Development Goal of providing access to clean water and basic sanitation for half of those who currently lack it would require a $190 billion annual investment for five years. At the time of the report, 783 million people had subpar drinking water, and 2.5 billion people lacked access to proper sanitation facilities. Meanwhile, the U.S. loses $190 billion in annual federal and state revenue due to offshore tax dodges.
Vivienne Harr's lemonade stand story a movie
2014-01-27, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:24:05
When Eric Harr was a kid, he made $9 one day from selling lemonade. He thought that was totally cool. Thirty years later, his daughter Vivienne set up a lemonade stand ... and did considerably better. Over 173 consecutive days, she took in $101,320. Vivienne, a 10-year-old with a penchant for bouncy princess dresses and the color pink, had a motive. Alarmed by photos she'd seen of Nepalese children hauling enormous rocks down a mountain, she decided in May 2012 to raise money to stop child slavery. When people stopped at her lemonade stand to ask how much she was charging, Vivienne said, "Whatever's in your heart." She donated the $101,320 to Not for Sale, a nonprofit that works to eradicate human trafficking around the world. But she wasn't finished. During the last year and a half, her campaign morphed into a corporation. Make a Stand Lemon-Aid, which her father oversees, sells fair-trade, organic lemonade at 137 stores and is expected to gross $2 million this year. Along the way, Vivienne became a bit of a celebrity. In November, she joined "Star Trek" actor Patrick Stewart to ring the opening bell for Twitter's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange - a distinction bestowed because she and her dad, a social-media professional, had made extensive use of the microblogging service. In a new documentary, "#Standwithme," Portland, Ore., filmmakers Patrick Moreau and Grant Peelle show how Vivienne and her parents were drawn to their cause and set their story in a larger context of global efforts to halt human trafficking.
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Solar industry job growth jumped 20% in 2013
2014-01-27, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:22:42
Job growth in 2013 stayed sluggish for much of the American economy. But for solar companies, it was a banner year. Employment in the U.S. solar industry jumped 20 percent in 2013 to hit 142,698. The number of solar jobs across the country has grown 53 percent since 2010. Last year, the industry added 56 U.S. jobs per day, on average. "That growth is putting people back to work and helping local economies," said Andrea Luecke, executive director of the Solar Foundation. Her research and advocacy group has issued its National Solar Jobs Census every year since 2010. Nearly half of all U.S. solar workers counted in the most recent survey install systems, rather than make the equipment. Installation employed 69,658 people across the country last year, up from 57,177 in 2012. Solar manufacturing, in contrast, employed 29,851 people in the United States, a slight increase from 29,742 the previous year. In 2012, California had 43,700 solar jobs, 37 percent of the nationwide total. The Golden State is the nation's largest solar market, and many of the country's biggest solar companies - including SolarCity, SunPower and Sunrun - call it home. The survey found that the average installer earned about $20 per hour in 2013.
Note: For more on exciting energy developments, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
School ditches rules and loses bullies
2014-01-26, TVNZ (New Zealand's national broadcasting company)
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:21:19
Ripping up the playground rulebook is having incredible effects on children at an Auckland school. Chaos may reign at Swanson Primary School with children climbing trees, riding skateboards and playing bullrush during playtime, but surprisingly the students don't cause bedlam, the principal says. The school is actually seeing a drop in bullying, serious injuries and vandalism, while concentration levels in class are increasing. Principal Bruce McLachlan rid the school of playtime rules as part of a successful university experiment. "We want kids to be safe and to look after them, but we end up wrapping them in cotton wool when in fact they should be able to fall over." Letting children test themselves on a scooter during playtime could make them more aware of the dangers when getting behind the wheel of a car in high school, he said. "When you look at our playground it looks chaotic. From an adult's perspective, it looks like kids might get hurt, but they don't." Swanson School signed up to the study by AUT and Otago University just over two years ago, with the aim of encouraging active play. However, the school took the experiment a step further by abandoning the rules completely, much to the horror of some teachers at the time. When the university study wrapped up at the end of last year the school and researchers were amazed by the results. Mudslides, skateboarding, bullrush and tree climbing kept the children so occupied the school no longer needed a timeout area or as many teachers on patrol. "The kids were motivated, busy and engaged. In my experience, the time children get into trouble is when they are not busy, motivated and engaged. It's during that time they bully other kids, graffiti or wreck things around the school."
Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
The Elders of Organic Farming
2014-01-25, New York Times
Posted: 2014-02-03 10:20:09
For nearly a week, two dozen organic farmers from the United States and Canada shared decades’ worth of stories, secrets and anxieties [at California's Esalen Institute]. During their meetings, some of the farmers worried that their children would not want to continue their businesses and that they might have to sell their homes and land to retire. [Conference organizer Michael] Ableman, the author of Fields of Plenty, is writing a book about the gathering. Deborah Garcia, the widow of Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and a filmmaker whose previous films include “The Future of Food” and “The Symphony of the Soil,” is making a documentary. The grandfathers and grandmothers of organic farming should be joyous, but they are not. Some of today’s organic farmers have thousands of acres of single crops, which are flown to supermarket shelves, where they are sold at lower prices than many small organic farmers can afford to sell their produce.
Generally, the farmers at Esalen have less acreage and sell dozens or hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets, to upscale restaurants and through so-called community-supported agriculture. C.S.A.’s, as these arrangements are known, consist of consumers who pay before the harvest for weekly deliveries of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The sustainable agriculture these farmers practice goes beyond farming without synthetic fertilizer and pesticides. They adhere to a broader political and ecological ethos that includes attention to wildlife, soil, education and community. For most of them, the bottom line has never been their bottom line.
Note: Don't miss the eye-opening documentary "Future of Food" at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Watchdog Report Says N.S.A. Program Is Illegal and Should End
2014-01-23, New York Times
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:19:03
An independent federal privacy watchdog has concluded that the National Security Agency’s program to collect bulk phone call records has provided only “minimal” benefits in counterterrorism efforts, is illegal and should be shut down. The findings are laid out in a 238-page report [that represents] the first major public statement by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which Congress made an independent agency in 2007 and only recently became fully operational. The Obama administration has portrayed the bulk collection program as useful and lawful. But in its report, the board lays out what may be the most detailed critique of the government’s once-secret legal theory behind the program: that a law known as Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the F.B.I. to obtain business records deemed “relevant” to an investigation, can be legitimately interpreted as authorizing the N.S.A. to collect all calling records in the country. The program “lacks a viable legal foundation under Section 215, implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments, raises serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value,” the report said. “As a result, the board recommends that the government end the program.” The report also sheds light on the history of the once-secret bulk collection program. It contains the first official acknowledgment that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court produced no judicial opinion detailing its legal rationale for the program until last August, even though it had been issuing orders to phone companies for the records and to the N.S.A. for how it could handle them since May 2006.
Note: The PCLOB report is titled "Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the
Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court," and is available here. For more on government attacks to privacy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Richest 85 boast same wealth as half the world
2014-01-21, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:17:33
Eighty-five people control the same amount of wealth as half the world's population. That is 85 people compared with 3.5 billion. A new report from Oxfam has been published in time for the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. It shows the world's ultra-wealthy have not only recovered from the global financial crisis, they have positively blossomed. The report shows the wealth of the 1 per cent richest people in the world is worth about $US110 trillion, 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world's population. It also shows the world's richest 85 people control about $US1.7 trillion in wealth, equivalent to the bottom half of the world's population. And far from hindering the wealthy, the political response to the global financial crisis - including the actions of central banks and the austerity measures introduced by national governments - has made the rich fabulously richer. In the US, the wealthiest 1 per cent of the population grabbed 95 per cent of post-financial crisis growth between 2009 and 2012, while the bottom 90 per cent became poorer. An Oxfam survey of six countries - the United States, UK, Spain, Brazil, India and South Africa - has found that the majority of people believe laws and regulations are skewed in favour of the rich, so people are noticing.
Note: For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
China's princelings storing riches in Caribbean offshore haven
2014-01-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:16:01
More than a dozen family members of China's top political and military leaders are making use of offshore companies based in the British Virgin Islands, leaked financial documents reveal. The brother-in-law of China's current president, Xi Jinping, as well as the son and son-in-law of former premier Wen Jiabao are among the political relations making use of the offshore havens, financial records show. The documents also disclose the central role of major Western banks and accountancy firms ... in the offshore world, acting as middlemen in the establishing of companies. The Hong Kong office of Credit Suisse, for example, established the BVI company Trend Gold Consultants for Wen Yunsong, the son of Wen Jiabao, during his father's premiership — while PwC and UBS performed similar services for hundreds of other wealthy Chinese individuals. The disclosure of China's use of secretive financial structures is the latest revelation from "Offshore Secrets", a two-year reporting effort led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which obtained more than 200 gigabytes of leaked financial data from two companies in the British Virgin Islands, and shared the information with the Guardian and other international news outlets. In all, the ICIJ data reveals more than 21,000 clients from mainland China and Hong Kong have made use of offshore havens in the Caribbean. Between $1tn and $4tn in untraced assets have left China since 2000, according to estimates.
Note: Read the ICIJ's full report of the latest offshore links. For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
For the Love of Money
2014-01-19, New York Times
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:14:25
In my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted. It was actually my absurdly wealthy bosses who helped me see the limitations of unlimited wealth. I was in a meeting with one of them, and a few other traders, and they were talking about the new hedge-fund regulations. Most everyone on Wall Street thought they were a bad idea. “But isn’t it better for the system as a whole?” I asked. The room went quiet, and my boss shot me a withering look. I remember his saying, “I don’t have the brain capacity to think about the system as a whole. All I’m concerned with is how this affects our company.” I felt as if I’d been punched in the gut. He was afraid of losing money, despite all that he had. From that moment on, I started to see Wall Street with new eyes. I noticed the vitriol that traders directed at the government for limiting bonuses after the crash. I heard the fury in their voices at the mention of higher taxes. These traders despised anything or anyone that threatened their bonuses. Wealth addiction was described by the late sociologist and playwright Philip Slater in a 1980 book, but addiction researchers have paid the concept little attention. Like alcoholics driving drunk, wealth addiction imperils everyone. Wealth addicts are, more than anybody, specifically responsible for the ever widening rift that is tearing apart our once great country.
Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Vatican Monsignor Arrested for Money Laundering
2014-01-21, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:12:49
A Vatican monsignor already on trial for allegedly plotting to smuggle 20 million euros ($26 million) from Switzerland to Italy was arrested ... for allegedly using his Vatican bank accounts to launder money. Financial police in the southern Italian city of Salerno said Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, dubbed "Monsignor 500" for his purported favored banknotes, had transferred millions of euros in fictitious donations from offshore companies through his accounts at the Vatican's Institute for Religious Works. Acting on evidence provided by the Vatican bank, police said they seized 6.5 million euros in real estate and assets in Italian bank accounts Tuesday, including Scarano's luxurious Salerno apartment, filled with gilt-framed oil paintings, ceramic vases and other fancy antiques. Police said in all, 52 people were under investigation. The money involved in both the Swiss smuggling case and the Salerno money-laundering case originated with one of Italy's most important shipping families, the d'Amicos. Financial police said more than 5 million euros had been made available to Scarano by the D'Amicos via offshore companies. Scarano allegedly withdrew 555,248 euros from his Vatican account in cash in 2009 and brought it into Italy. Since he couldn't deposit it in an Italian bank without drawing suspicion, he selected 50 friends to accept 10,000 euros apiece in cash in exchange for a check or wire transfer in that same amount.
Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
New analysis of rocket used in Syria chemical attack undercuts U.S. claims
2014-01-15, Miami Herald
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:11:25
A series of revelations about the rocket believed to have delivered poison sarin gas to a Damascus suburb last summer are challenging American intelligence assumptions about that attack and suggest that the case U.S. officials initially made for retaliatory military action was flawed. A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated. The authors of a report released Wednesday said that their study of the rocket’s design, its likely payload and its possible trajectories show that it would have been impossible for the rocket to have been fired from inside areas controlled by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. In the report, titled “Possible Implications of Faulty U.S. Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former United Nations weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argue that the question about the rocket’s range indicates a major weakness in the case for military action initially pressed by Obama administration officials. Postol said that a basic analysis of the weapon ... would have shown that it wasn’t capable of flying the 6 miles from the center of the Syrian government-controlled part of Damascus to the point of impact in the suburbs, or even the 3.6 miles from the edges of government-controlled ground.
Note: For more on government lies designed to start wars, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Brazil’s Latest Clash With Its Urban Youth Takes Place at the Mall
2014-01-20, New York Times
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:09:53
The images have already been so jolting to Brazil’s elites that President Dilma Rousseff has convened a meeting of top aides to form a response and business owners have obtained injunctions to shut them down: thousands of teenagers, largely from the gritty urban periphery and organizing on social media, going on raucous excursions through shopping malls. Called rolezinhos (little strolls) in the slang of São Paulo’s streets, the rowdy gatherings may be going beyond mere flash mobs to touch on issues of public space and entitlement. “Why don’t they want us to go inside malls?” asked Plinio Diniz, 17, a high school student who attended a rolezinho this month in Shopping Metrô Itaquera, a mall here where police officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the estimated crowd of 3,000. Unnerved by the street protests that shook cities across the country last year, the authorities are carefully trying to evaluate ways to react to the gatherings, which began heightening in size and intensity in December. Rolezinhos are generally organized on Facebook, with nearly 20 planned in Brazilian cities in the weeks ahead, and often involve running up and down escalators and a good deal of shouting, flirting and singing of Brazilian funk songs. For many participants, although they may come from relatively poor urban areas, the events are also opportunities to show off costly brand-name clothing. Others contend that the rolezinhos, while not explicitly political, nevertheless open the way for new methods of protest at malls.
Note: For more on civil liberties, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Japan fishermen take cover to slaughter dolphins in face of Western criticism
2014-01-21, Chicago Tribune/Reuters
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:08:14
Japanese fishermen drove a large group of dolphins into the shallows ... and, hiding from reporters and TV cameras behind a tarpaulin, killed at least 30 as the annual dolphin hunt that sparked protest in the West entered its final stages. Both the U.S. and British ambassadors to Japan have strongly criticized the "drive killings" of dolphins citing the "terrible suffering" inflicted on the marine mammals. Every year the fishermen of Taiji, in western Wakayama prefecture, drive hundreds of dolphins into a cove, select some for sale to marine parks, release some and kill the rest for meat. On Tuesday, at least 30 dolphins out of the group of more than 200 held in the cove since Friday were herded by boat engines and nets into a killing area of the Taiji cove. Before the killing began, fishermen pulled a tarpaulin in front of the cove to prevent activists and reporters from seeing the killing. A large pool of blood seeped under the tarpaulin and spread across the cove. "A metal rod was stabbed into their spinal cord, where they were left to bleed out, suffocate and die. After a traumatic four days held captive in the killing cove, they experienced violent captive selection, being separated from their family, and then eventually were killed today," Sea Shepherd Conservation Society activist Melissa Sehgal told Reuters. The annual hunt has long been a source of controversy and was the topic of "The Cove", an Oscar-winning documentary that brought Taiji into the international spotlight.
Note: For more on the devastation of marine mammal populations by human activities, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Texas Police Hit Organic Farm With Massive SWAT Raid
2013-08-15, Huffington Post
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:06:36
A small organic farm in Arlington, Texas, was the target of a massive police action ... that included aerial surveillance, a SWAT raid and a 10-hour search. Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm. Farm owners and residents who live on the property [said] that the real reason for the law enforcement exercise appears to have been code enforcement. Local authorities had cited the Garden of Eden in recent weeks for code violations, including "grass that was too tall, bushes growing too close to the street, a couch and piano in the yard, chopped wood that was not properly stacked, a piece of siding that was missing from the side of the house, and generally unclean premises." The raid on the Garden of Eden farm appears to be the latest example of police departments using SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics to enforce less serious crimes. In recent years, SWAT teams have been called out to perform regulatory alcohol inspections at a bar in Manassas Park, Va.; to raid bars for suspected underage drinking in New Haven, Conn.; to perform license inspections at barbershops in Orlando, Fla.; and to raid a gay bar in Atlanta where police suspected customers and employees were having public sex. A federal investigation later found that Atlanta police had made up the allegations of public sex. Other raids have been conducted on food co-ops and Amish farms suspected of selling unpasteurized milk products. The federal government has for years been conducting raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized them.
Note: The author of this report, Radley Balko, is a senior writer and investigative reporter for The Huffington Post. He is also the author of the new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. For an ABC News report on this disturbing raid, click here.
The hidden history of the CIA’s prison in Poland
2014-01-23, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:05:02
In early 2003, two senior CIA officers arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to pick up a pair of large cardboard boxes. Inside were bundles of cash totaling $15 million that had been flown from Germany via diplomatic pouch. The Americans and Poles then sealed an agreement that over the previous weeks had allowed the CIA the use of a secret prison — a remote villa in the Polish lake district — to interrogate al-Qaeda suspects. The Polish intelligence service received the money, and the CIA had a solid location for its newest covert operation, according to former agency officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the interrogation program, including previously unreported details about the creation of the CIA’s “black sites,” or secret prisons. The CIA prison in Poland was arguably the most important of all the black sites created by the agency after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It was the first of a trio in Europe that housed the initial wave of accused Sept. 11 conspirators, and it was where Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared mastermind of the attacks, was waterboarded 183 times after his capture. In December, the European Court of Human Rights heard arguments that Poland violated international law and participated in torture by accommodating its American ally. “In the face of Polish and United States efforts to draw a veil over these abuses, the European Court of Human Rights now has an opportunity to break this conspiracy of silence and uphold the rule of law,” said Amrit Singh, a lawyer with the Open Society Justice Initiative.
Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency activities, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
9/11 Fraud Scandal 'Probably' More Widespread, Top Official Says
2014-01-16, ABC News
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:03:27
Lawmakers pressed Social Security Administration officials ... over a massive fraud scandal involving New York City cops and firefighters who allegedly bilked the government out of millions by falsely claiming disability from working at Ground Zero after 9/11. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), chairman of the House's Ways and Means subcommittee that oversees the agency ... convened the hearing following the stunning arrests last week of more than 100 in New York from vaunted public safety agencies known in the city as the "Finest" and the "Bravest," who stand accused of filing phony disability claims. Many allegedly faked mental disabilities they claimed were as a result of the [attacks] that reduced the World Trade Center into a smoldering wasteland of rubble. Johnson demanded accountability from the acting chief of the Social Security Administration, Carolyn Colvin and agency Inspector General Patrick O'Carroll. Workers labored for months to retrieve remains of hundreds who perished in the twin towers on 9/11 and were sickened by toxic air that the feds had said was safe to breathe without respirator masks. The alleged New York scam was lucrative for the perpetrators and is estimated to have cost the Social security pension fund at least $22 million so far, with more arrests to come, according to testimony from Edward Ryan, New York SSA IG Special Agent in Charge. "When we executed search warrants we found large amounts of cash in safes……and gold bars" Ryan testified.
Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Documents Reveal Decades Of Child Abuse Among Some Chicago Priests
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:02:00
Papers documenting allegation of sexual abuse by priests in the Chicago Archdiocese were released to the public today by victims' attorneys. The documents cover only 30 of at least 65 priests for whom the Chicago church says it has substantiated claims of child abuse. The papers, put online, were made available through settlements between Church and victims' lawyers. Church officials said most of the abuse occurred before 1988, none after 1996. The documents tell one heartbreaking story after another - 6,000 pages detailing not just how children and adult victims were abused by trusted priests, but also how church officials often bungled their responses, failing to turn sexual predators over to criminal authorities and often shuttling the offending priests from parish to parish, where they abused again. That deception ... came from the cardinal on down. Not only were the victims and their families deceived, but so too were parishioners where offending priests were transferred, as well as the police and the public at large. In one case in 1979, a priest raped a 13-year old boy and later warned him at gunpoint not to tell anyone. The documents show the boy's parents were assured that the priest would get treatment and would be kept away from minors, but he wasn't. Within a year, that priest was returned to ministry in another parish where he abused again. In another case, the late Cardinal John Cody tells a priest accused of sexually abusing a girl that the allegations, quote, "should just be forgotten." That priest later abused again.
Note: For more on sexual abuse of children, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Researchers developing communication app for children with autism
2013-08-01, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-01-28 10:00:54
University of Kansas researchers have received a $1.2 million grant to test whether an iPad voice output application can help children with autism. Similar apps have previously been developed for adults with autism. In June 2012, 60 Minutes interviewed a 27-year-old man with autism who uses the keypad on the iPad to type out letters, words and phrases. A robotic voice then reads the words on the screen, giving a voice to an intelligent young man who previously struggled to communicate. Other researchers have developed apps to test vocabulary and math skills of autistic children. They are finding that the apps reveal a greater level of intelligence than previously expected in many of the children. Lead researcher Kathy Thiemann-Bourque says many young children with autism have complex communication needs but do not develop functional speech. In previous research, she has examined both peer training and direct teaching strategies to increase social communication between children with autism and their classmates without disabilities.
Note: For an amazing eight-minute clip showing how a non-verbal autistic woman uses her computer to eloquently invite people into her world, click here. The amazing writing starts at 3:15. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
New species of river dolphin identified in Brazilian Amazon
2014-01-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-01-28 09:59:05
Scientists have made the first discovery in 100 years of a new river dolphin species in the waters of the Araguaia river in Brazil's vast Amazon rainforest. The discovery of the Inia araguaiaensis was officially announced earlier this week in a study posted online by the Plos One scientific journal. The study's lead author, biologist Tomas Hrbek, of the Federal University of Amazonas in the city of Manaus, said the new species is the third ever found in the Amazon region. "It was an unexpected discovery that shows just how incipient our knowledge is of the region's biodiversity," Hrbek said by telephone. "River dolphins are among the rarest and most endangered of all vertebrates, so discovering a new species is something that is very rare and exciting." He said: "people always saw them in the river but no one ever took a close up look at them." Hrbek added that scientists concluded the large dolphin was a new species by analysing and comparing DNA samples of several types of dolphins from the Amazon and Araguaia river basins. There [are] about 1,000 Inia araguaiaensis dolphins living in the 2,627km-long (1,630 miles) river.
Note: For more on the amazing world of marine mammals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.
Explosive growth for state's surviving solar firms
2014-01-19, San Francisco Chronicle SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-01-28 09:57:48
Many California and Bay Area [solar] companies are in a period of explosive growth. Companies such as SolarCity, Sungevity, SunPower and Sunrun are installing panels at a heady pace, and adding jobs along the way. Their expansion has been fueled by ... a worldwide plunge in the price of solar cells. Companies that design and install solar systems for homes, businesses or utilities have seen their sales rise. "They're not just survivors - they're strong survivors," said Lyndon Rive, chief executive officer of SolarCity in San Mateo. "And it's not just us. It's the industry. ... The notion that it's a failure is so outrageous." The number of solar installations - both large and small-scale - is booming. In 2013, the United States added enough new photovoltaic panels to generate a maximum of 4.2 gigawatts of electricity, roughly the output of four nuclear reactors. Over the past five years, the number of residential installations has grown at an average annual rate of 70 percent, according to the NPD Solarbuzz market information firm. "The demand today is coming from the fact that someone can put solar on their house and save money," said Paul Nahi, CEO of Enphase Energy, a Petaluma company that makes microinverters for solar arrays. "It is true that they may also be saving the planet. But that's not their main consideration." The drop in prices isn't their only reason for growth. Companies including SolarCity, SunEdison and Sunrun began offering solar leases or power purchase agreements to homeowners and businesses. Rather than buy the panels, customers could just buy the energy. That financial innovation revolutionized the industry.
Note: For more on exciting new developments in alternative energy technologies, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.