General relativity effect confirmed: satellite experiment

Category : Uncategorized

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A team of scientists at Stanford University claim to have detected a subtle, missing element of Einstein’s theory of relativity.

In a press release dated February 16th, Robert Kahn, Stanford University’s Public Affairs Coordinator, announced the experimental confirmation of frame dragging, an effect in which the presence of a rotating body causes space itself to be pulled along as the body rotates. While the effect was theorized by Josef Lense and Hans Thirring as far back as 1918, the small scale of the effect, as little as one part in a trillion for a satellite orbiting the Earth, made detecting the effect difficult.

Many people are surprised when they learn that the two theories of relativity have passed every experiment that has been designed to test them. Are you surprised that the weirdness predicted by relativity has been experimentally verified?
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The observation was made by the Gravity Probe B satellite, which carries finely-machined gyroscopes. Scientists looked for small changes in the motion of the gyroscopes to detect the frame dragging effect, as well as the much larger geodetic effect – small corrections to the Earth’s gravitational field due to differences between Einstein’s and Newton’s theories of gravity.

The experiment was conducted on the satellite from 2004 to 2005. However, the complexity of the data analysis along with unforeseen engineering problems have made finding the effect in the experiment’s results difficult. In particular, the presence of small electrical charges on the gyroscopes interfered with their results.

Francis Everitt, the experiment’s Principal Investigator, stresses in an interview with the New York Times that their announcement is only preliminary and that, with further analysis, they hope to improve the precision of their results; currently, they say they have only detected the frame dragging effect to within plus or minus fifteen percent of its expected value.

The theory of general relativity was developed by Albert Einstein in the early 20th century to explain the behavior of moving objects in space, after the discovery that the speed of light was always the same no matter how the person measuring it was moving. While it successfully explains many strange behaviors in space, such as the slow shifting of the orbit of Mercury and the bending of light by massive objects such as black holes, testing the theory on Earth has always been difficult due to the small scale of relativity’s effects in everyday life.

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The Simpsons episode to premiere on Sky1

Category : Uncategorized

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In the Name of the Grandfather“, the fourteenth episode of the twentieth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons will today become the first episode of the show to premiere in Europe. It will air at 7:30 PM on Sky1 in the United Kingdom and Ireland and be paired with “Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes“. The special broadcast is part of FOX’s year-long “Best. 20 Years. Ever.” celebration which commemorates the 20th anniversary of the show. To promote the broadcast, executive producers Al Jean and James L. Brooks, as well as Nancy Cartwright visited Ireland and are scheduled to participate in the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. The episode was screened at the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin on March 16. The American debut of the episode will be March 22, 2009.

In the episode, the Simpson family travels to Ireland so Grampa can visit a pub where he once had the best night of his life. Guest stars scheduled for the episode include Colm Meaney as Tom O’Flanagan, Kathy Ireland as herself, Glen Hansard as a street musician and Markéta Irglová as an Eastern European woman.

We wanted it to be an affectionate love letter to Ireland.

Executive producer Al Jean stated the episode is intended to be “an affectionate love letter to Ireland” because many of the writers have Irish roots. The episode will feature Irish landmarks including Giant’s Causeway, the Blarney Castle and the Guinness Brewery.

Previous episodes of the show where the Simpson family visits other countries have been controversial. For example, the Simpsons visited Australia in “Bart vs. Australia” and Brazil in “Blame it on Lisa“, and both episodes generated controversy and negative reaction in the visited countries.

The Rio de Janeiro tourist board claimed that the city was portrayed as having rampant street crime, kidnappings, slums, and monkey and rat infestations; and threatened FOX with legal action. When asked whether he thought this episode would generate similar controversies, Al Jean replied “I’m Irish American and I know Irish people have an excellent sense of humor so we weren’t very worried.”

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Best Shopping Mall In Chennai

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Best Shopping mall in Chennai


Best mall chennai

Shopping malls have become an integral part of chennaites. There are many famous malls in Chennai city. People have become very much used to the habit of spending their time in malls during weekends. Malls consist of Movie theatres, famous restaurants, Games, Car parking and many such. MARG Junction, one of the biggest shopping complex in Chennai, is an upcoming mall in Chennai. MARG Junction mall is located in Karapakkam in OMR, the IT corridor of Chennai City. This will be the

best shopping mall in Chennai

, as it is bringing PVR cinemas to OMR and other factors which chennaites will love!

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Old Mahabalipuram Road very popularly known as OMR is famous for the leading IT companies. The working population of the OMR will be very much pleased to have such a mall in their locality. Moreover bringing PVR cinemas to OMR is such a good thing. The highlight of MARG Junction Mall is that this is the going to be the only riverside mall in Chennai. The best mall in Chennai is been constructed by the MARG group, one of the leading infrastructure firm in Chennai. They have been involved in very big projects of the country including government projects. There projects include karaikal port, Swarnabhoomi, the land of new thinking and many such. MARG Group are into Engineering Procurement & Construction, Marine Infrastructure & Services, Urban & Industrial Infrastructure, Commercial & residential real estate.

There are various

shopping complexes in chennai

. Malls in Chennai include Spencer Plaza which is a historical landmark in Mount Road; Abirami Mega Mall which consists of many theatres inside the shopping complex is located at Purasawalkam; City centre is one of the favourite shopping centres in Chennai for the beach lovers. City centre is located in Mylapore and it has inox theatres for the movie lovers. Marina beach is its nearby landmark. Ampa Skywalk in Amjikarai is another mall in Chennai which brought PVR cinemas to Chennai city. Express Avenue one of the latest malls in Chennai is liked my most of the people in Chennai. The reason is that it is located at the centre of the city and it is very spacious. Having luxurious theatres is another reason. Along with these famous malls, MARG junction is a going to be launched and it will be the best mall in Chennai. Chennaites are eagerly waiting for the MARG Junction to be opened as soon as possible.; I love to update the latest happenings in Chennai.

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Denny’s Super Bowl free ‘Grand Slam Breakfast’ brings 2 million diners

Category : Uncategorized

Friday, February 6, 2009

Denny’s 1,600 chain restaurants across North America, Puerto Rico and Canada, were slammed for eight hours Tuesday with hungry patrons standing on sidewalks for nearly two hours to take advantage of the $5.99 “Grand Slam Breakfast” giveaway.

Denny’s, a dining chain with annual revenue of about $900 million, has advertised in a TV commercial Sunday during the Super Bowl XLIII that it would give away its signature breakfast from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. local time Tuesday, at all its restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, while supplies lasted.

Denny’s Diner has promoted the iconic dish giveaway heavily, with a bold 30-second appeal ad that aired during the third quarter of the Super Bowl 43 on Sunday, plus another 15-second ad during the post-game show, offering a free breakfast to some 90 million viewers. In addition, it has placed a full-page ad in USA Today‘s Monday edition. The promotion was further announced on The Today Show and notices were also sent out to the chain’s “Denny’s Breakfast Club” members.

The NBC ad, which was bought to unveil a new promotion for customers squeezed by the recession, may have cost as much as $3 million, said Nelson Marchioli, CEO of Denny’s Corp. Super Bowl XLIII’s 30-second commercial time slot costs $2.4 million–$3 million for the airtime alone, excluding production and talent costs.

The game was televised live by the US NBC Sunday Night Football and Canada’s CTV Television Network. BayTSP has reported that, “as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, commercials that initially aired during NBC’s Super Bowl XLIII broadcast subsequently had been watched online more than 28 million times.”

“The promotion has a total cost of $5 million U.S., which includes $3 million for the commercial on NBC,” said a Denny’s spokesman, noting also that the company received about $50 million in news coverage, most of which was positive. According to a Denny’s representative, two million people walked through the restaurant chains’ doors Tuesday, and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour.

With the “Denny’s Feeds America” promotion, the company has reported 14 million hits on its Web site between Sunday night and Monday morning. Denny’s shares rose 6 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $1.98 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a range of $1.18 to $4.10 over the past 52 weeks.

“Denny’s free Grand Slam” has ranked in the top 10 Google searches early Tuesday and fell to No. 18 by the end of the promotion, while “denny s locations” was #9 on Google Trends, which tracks fast-rising searches. It has also held spots No. 1 (Denny’s) and 7 (Grand Slam) on Twitter‘s trending topics. It has generated much chat on Twitter, garnering 1,700 tweets on Tuesday, compared with its average of 59. Doritos, winner of the USA TODAY survey for best Super Bowl spot ad, had 933 mentions after reaching a peak of almost 3,300.

The idea of the TV ad was to get people to come in and re-evaluate Denny’s Diner. “A lot of people have forgotten what Denny’s is, or they think they know, while we’ve come out with a whole lot of new products. We felt like we needed to jump start the brand,” Denny’s Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Mark Chmiel said.

“We’re celebrating the Grand Slam this year,” Chmiel said. According to the company’s financial data, on January 15 Denny’s reported systemwide comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter were down 6.1 percent, compared to a 0.2 percent decline from the same period in 2007.

According to Robert Gonzalez, public relations company Hill & Knowlton spokesman, Denny’s has expected at least 2 million people to eat a free Grand Slam by the end of the promotion. “Every restaurant is packed with people and lines,” Gonzalez said. “Everything today is about fast. People are on the go, and they’re eating fast food. It’s cutting into sit-down dining,” he added.

“Each of the more than 1,500 Denny’s were planning to make about 100 Grand Slams an hour,” Denny’s spokeswoman Cori Rice said. It had predicted it will have served about 1,400 people per location, more than five times the normal volume. “Grand Slam Breakfast” is a four-item option on its menu, consisting of two pancakes, two eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausage links. It weighs in at 44 grams of fat, 56 carbohydrates and 770 calories.

Nationwide, Denny’s expected to sell about 2 million Grand Slams — about 15 percent of the annual tally. According to Mark Chmiel, chief marketing operator and executive vice president, the diner chain has reported approximately 2 million meals worth more than $12 million were given away nationwide and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour. It estimated it has earned about $50 million worth of public relations following the free Grand Slam campaign, Chmiel said.

The company is also experimenting with a Grand Slam Burrito and also has introduced for this year, a Grand Slamwich, which includes eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese between two slices of bread, with a teaspoon serving. “It already has shown strong consumer appeal,” said Chmiel. The company has received flood of e-mails and letters proving the positive impact of the Grand Slam campaign and commercials on its customers.

Chmiel also announced he’s planning a third major promotion in this year’s third quarter, which happens to include another major sporting event, the World Series. “That’s one we’re definitely looking at,” he said.

Jobless Paris Winslow of downtown San Francisco, California has joined the long line which stretched from the front door on Mission Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, to the corner of Fourth and up the block. “The economy is getting kind of scary. This line looks like those pictures of soup kitchen lines during the 1929 Great Depression,” Winslow said.

“I came all the way from San Francisco for a free $6 meal, Isn’t that pathetic? A year ago, I never would have done this. These days I’m willing to put my ego on the back burner,” said Stephen Weller, a jobless contractor who waited with his dog, Emmett. California Denny’s restaurant managers have issued rain checks (for free chilled meals, as security backed by actual bacon) to anyone who failed to get in by the 2 p.m. deadline.

A big eater could also “Slam It Up” by adding any two additional items for 99 cents each to their meal. Customers on Tuesday were also handed “bounceback” coupon books that include offers for additional free menu items with purchases. Chicago Tribune reporter Kevin Pang has eaten five free Grand Slams on Tuesday at five different Denny’s Diners in four hours. He claims to have consumed 4,100 calories at Harwood Heights, 5:36 a.m, at Schiller Park, 6:22 a.m., at Franklin Park, 7:08 a.m., at Melrose Park, 7:41 a.m. and at Grand Slam No. 5 Oak Park, 8:57 a.m.

“The Grand Slam has always been a Denny’s favorite. This free offer is our way of reacquainting America with Denny’s real breakfast and with the Denny’s brand,” Denny’s CEO Nelson Marchioli said in a statement. In 1977s, the Grand Slam started as a baseball-related promotion in Atlanta, Georgia. Its normal price averages around $5.99. Marchioli said the event was also a way to kick-off its “Year of the Grand Slam” promotion. Denny’s claimed it has sold 12.5 million Grand Slams a year.

“The economy’s tough and people are jumping all the way to fast food to try to figure it out. We all use fast food, whether it’s for time or convenience or for money. But you can go to Denny’s and you don’t have to give up a real breakfast and that was the whole focus of our commercial,” Marchioli explained. McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500) has done well during this economic meltdown since the global recession pushes people toward less expensive dining options.

McDonald’s has announced plans Wednesday to open 175 new restaurants in China this year despite the global economic crisis, thereby increasing the number of outlets in China by 17 percent, from 1,050 currently. Last month, McDonald’s 2008 net profit has risen 80 percent from 2007 to 4.3 billion dollars.

Marchioli has also introduced Denny’s $4 Weekday Express Slam, which is a streamlined version of the Grand Slam. “I want to take back share. For too long, we have allowed others to take share, whether it was Starbucks or McDonald’s. They’re fine competitors and I don’t expect to take all their business from them, but I’d like a little bit back,” Marchioli noted.

According to Rafi Mohammed, author of “The Art of Pricing,” people love free. “It triggers a Pavlovian response in people,” said Mohammed. If Pavlov’s dogs salivate when a bell rings, Denny’s free Grand Slam breakfast has attracted 2 million hungry customers. “I believe free maximizes trial and doesn’t devalue a product as long as it is a rare event. Aside from the cost, the major downside is that it attracts customers who truly have no intention of coming back,” he added.

According to University of Portland consumer psychology professor Deana Julka, people flock to free promotions amid just a few dollars saving because there’s nothing in life for free. “So when there’s something out there that costs nothing, it creates a psychological rush. Especially in these times when people feel overtaxed or overburden, there’s an internal reward people feel by getting something for free,” she said. “It’s being thrifty and feeling like you beat the system. Free really hits the spot for a lot of people,” Julka added.

“Free is an emotional hot button. When free is concerned, there is no downside – or, at least, we don’t see the downside immediately. So we overvalue everything that is free. People love free stuff, particularly when money’s tight,” said Dan Ariely, a business professor at Duke University, author of “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.”

Experts, however, explained these moves need to be done sparingly, since giveaways can teeter in the balance between desperation and a well designed marketing ploy. “Giving your product away for free is not worth it because it undermines your brand value,” said branding expert Rob Frankel, saying people are attached to the idea of it being free, than the actual product itself.

Free giveaways are not anything new in the food industry. “It just feels good when you can get something for free and not have to worry about it coming out of your wallet,” Frankel noted. Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera Bread all have had free coffee and food promos last year. “In November, Starbucks gave away free cup of coffee to anyone who came in on Election Day. Have you taken a look at how Starbucks is doing now?” Last week it has announced it would shut down 300 stores, in addition to the 600 it already planned to close.

On February 24, IHOP will be offering a free shortstack to every customer to encourage donations (in place of the cost) for Childrens Miracle Network. The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is a United States-based restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast foods and is owned by DineEquity. The chain had more than 1950 restaurants in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico. Since 2006, IHOP’s National Pancake Day celebration has raised over $1.85 million. In 2008, over 1.5 million pancakes (12 miles high if they were stacked) were given to customers for donations.

Denny’s (“Denny’s Diner”) is a full-service diner/family restaurant chain in the United States. It operates over 2,500 restaurants in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, Curaçao, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand). The resto chain is known for always being open, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert around the clock.

Today, Denny’s operates about 1,600 restaurants in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. There are also about 578 Denny’s restaurants in Japan operated under a license by a subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings, seven Denny’s locations in New Zealand, and approximately 38 Denny’s diners in the United States. Denny’s headquarters is now located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, headquarters of the parent company Trans World Corporation that acquired Denny’s in 1987.

Denny’s was historically notable for offering a free meal to anyone on their birthday. The offer included a limited number of meal options from a special birthday menu. The promotional ritual ceased in 1993, though occasionally individual franchises will continue the tradition.

In 2008, Denny’s has ceased to be in the ranks among the top diner chains in the $83 billion breakfast market, whose top five firms — McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and IHOP — accounted for 22 percent of the volume. “A lot of consumers have written Denny’s off their let’s-go-there list,” said Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a consulting firm.

Super Bowl XLIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Pittsburgh Steelers (15–4) and the National Football Conference champion Arizona Cardinals (12–8) to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2008 NFL season. It was played on February 1, 2009, at Raymond James Stadiumin Tampa, Florida. It has an attendance of 70,774 and 98.7 million viewers. Pittsburgh earned its sixth Super Bowl win, thus securing sole possession of the record for most Super Bowl wins.

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China overtakes Germany as world’s biggest exporter

Category : Uncategorized

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chinese officials have said that their country’s exports surged last December to edge out Germany as the world’s biggest exporter.

The official Xinhua news agency reported today that figures from the General Administration for Customs showed that exports jumped 17.7% in December from a year earlier. Over the whole of 2009 total Chinese exports reached US$1.2 trillion, above Germany’s forecast $1.17 trillion.

Huang Guohua, a statistics official with the customs administration, said the December exports rebound was an important turning point for China’s export sector. He commented that the jump was an indication that exporters have emerged from their downslide.

“We can say that China’s export enterprises have completely emerged from their all-time low in exports,” he said.

However, although China overtook Germany in exports, China’s total foreign trade — both exports and imports — fell 13.9% last year.

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Payday Loans Online Provide You With Instant Funds

Category : Property Investment

By Smith Jones

Urgent monetary needs can be a cause of worry for any salaried individual, especially, if your next paycheck is still far off. Fund shortage in between two consecutive paydays is a common feature for many of us and often we need to approach our family or friends for a loan to help us tide over this situation. However, it can be an embarrassing to approach a known person for financial help as it implies disclosing your financial status to that person. A more feasible option would be to approach a financial institution for quick and easy loans. Time, however, is a crucial factor when you need instant funds for an emergency and most financial lending agencies involve extensive paperwork in loan processing, which may take up a lot of your time. In this case, you could greatly benefit from the payday loans online that provide instant funds without the hassle of paperwork.

The financial lenders providing payday loans online usually have their own websites on the internet. As a potential borrower, you simply need to surf the internet and find these websites and short list a reliable loan provider. It is advisable to compare the various rates provided on the payday loans online before you actually select a plan that is best suited to you. Once you are comfortable with the plan you could simply fill the online application form available on the website of the lender. The company will get in touch with you promptly once they have received your loan application and the loan approval is also instant.

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The main advantage of the payday loans online is that you get the money when you need it and not long after the need is over. As the entire processing of the loan is conducted online, it helps to save a lot of time and effort on your part and is a completely secure transaction. You need not step out from the comfort of your home or office in order to apply for the loan or get the funds transferred into your account. The money is in your account usually within 24 hours of the loan application, although it may take 2-3 days in certain cases, depending on the loan amount. So, you can utilize the money for any financial need that you deem fit, as it does not have any restriction on the terms of usage.

Payday loans online are hence, the easiest way to get ready cash transferred in your account on a short term basis. As the loan is generally provided for a short duration of few weeks, you need not carry the burden of debt for long. However, you must be specific about the repayment of the loan as otherwise the lending agency can take legal actions against you and you would have to pay a penalty for non-repayment. The loan repayment, although, is also possible electronically, further adding to your convenience. So now whenever you need that extra cash to fulfill any financial need in between two consecutive paydays, you have the easy option of instant loans just a click away.

About the Author: Smith Jones is a financial expert dealing with payday loans in UK.If you want to know more about no credit check payday loans,Bad credit payday loans,payday loans online and payday loans UK then visit


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Wikinews interviews Mark Bunker, producer of anti-Scientology website ‘XenuTV’

Category : Uncategorized

Monday, February 18, 2008

Television producer and owner of the anti-Scientology website (XenuTV), Mark Bunker, also known as Wise Beard Man, chatted online with Wikinews for nearly three hours. More than 120 people followed the interview live (many from Project Chanology), which makes this exclusive Wikinews interview our most attended IRC interview to date.

Bunker started XenuTV in 1999 and began to make videos that he provided for the Lisa McPherson Trust. Bunker has been a critic of the Church of Scientology since 1997.

In 2006, he won a Regional Emmy Award after he and KUSI-TV news reporter Lena Lewis produced a documentary news video on the issues with the United States – Mexico border with San Diego, California.

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Will Botox Injections Take Care Of Facial Lines?

Will Botox Injections Take Care Of Facial Lines?


Ted Wood

Botox, anti-wrinkle hypodermic injection is an advance aesthetic therapy that is said to be a cure for facial lines. But does it really work? Will it completely remove your face lines?

As you age, epidermis cell production decelerates and your skins capability to hold in moisture decreases. Your epidermis becomes dry and boring and face motions especially during extreme feelings like rage could cause wrinkles and furrows which will leave marks like facial lines. You can\’t prevent those collections to type because your epidermis had already lost its flexibility or its capability to return to its original type.

Botulinum toxins is a substance used for healthcare requirements for over 50 years. It is produced by a bacteria called Clostridium Bolutinum. Though it is a toxic substance, it can be safely used for numerous healthcare and aesthetic requirements when used in small, highly managed doses. Its use in the healthcare industry includes therapy of squinting eye, wry throat, inability to close the eyes, and severe fits. But what made botox therapy so popular is its use in the makeup industry as a strategy to collections. Crow\’s feet, grimace collections and throat bands are the most common conditions treated with botox therapy.

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A typical botox therapy treatments usually cost around $16 – $20 per unit. This is a non-invasive aesthetic process that does not need complicated surgical techniques. Carefully calculated amounts of botox therapy are treated to the desired area of therapy after the application of an pain-killer agent. Accurate position of botox therapy to the hypodermic injection website should be observed.A minimal painful feeling is expected on the hypodermic injection website upon delivery of botox therapy to the muscular tissue and it may also cause some inflammation and minimal inflammation.

This reaction should not worry you because it is not caused by the substance itself but by the manner used to deliver the drug. It usually takes ten to 15 minutes to complete the process and 3 days to per 7 days for the outcomes to be valued after the minimal inflammation and inflammation has gone away. For patients who will go through botox strategy to the first time, the outcomes will last for three to four several weeks therefore a do it again botox therapy treatments is required. Regular treatments of botox therapy however, will eventually need lesser do it again injections as it will provide longer outcomes for up to six to 12 several weeks.

With regards to its secure use, botulinum toxins is accepted by the FDA and is considered to be secure as long as accepted doses are totally followed. Wellness hazards and adverse reactions after botox therapy treatments are frustration, feeling sick, pain and discoloration at the hypodermic injection website. These are all short-term and will disappear in less than per 7 days.

As to its efficiency, botox therapy is very efficient in solving existing collections as well as in avoiding development of new ones. By decline some of the face muscular tissue, botox therapy limits their activity thereby avoiding the chance of the epidermis getting expanded and leaving a mark. This limitation of muscular activity regenerates your epidermis to a stronger, better appearance. Just make sure that you are going to have this process with the best doctor and his team of physicians to ensure the quality and safety of the process.

An Australia surgical procedures hospital, Respect Cosmetic Facilities is consisting of physicians with brilliant minds who are dedicated to their own aesthetic area. Our physicians are available for appointment in Canberra, Modern australia, Queensland and Victoria. Visit our website if you wish to set an appointment or learn more about botox therapy, a anti aging hypodermic injection as well as any other aesthetic concern.

For more information on

orange county spas

, Visit platinummedicalspa

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Under-reporting of human Bird Flu infections poses worldwide threat

Category : Uncategorized

Monday, November 21, 2005

Possible under reporting of bird flu infections in China and other Southeast Asian countries may be promoting an illusory sense that human infections are very limited. Common press reports only describe fewer than 130 people as infected with H5N1 avian flu and that fewer than 70 have died worldwide. Yet, there are enormous problems getting accurate data, especially in a country like China with a population of more than a billion.

“Reporting a suspected bird flu infection in bird or humans is a very unlikely event,” said Dr. Shoshana Zimmerman of the eHealth Institute. She is also a founder of, a site dedicated to bird flu issues. “There are very few incentives to report, and lots of reasons to refrain from reporting. From the viewpoint of local rural small farmers, there is little to be gained and much to be lost by reporting an infection. The worse threat is that their flocks could be killed, leaving them destitute.”

There are many factors which mitigate against reporting bird or human infections of bird flu.

  • The deaths of chickens, ducks, and birds are common events for farmer. Even when a large number die at one time they may see no purpose in reporting the deaths.
  • When a human dies in locations with little or no medical services, the rural farmer’s priority for discerning the cause of death may be low.
  • In rural areas most people are not taken to hospitals when they are sick.
  • Bird flu symptoms are not widely known. If the symptoms are not known, they will not be recognized and reports of possible bird or human infections can not be made.
  • The expenses required for detection are those of proper collection and shipment of samples to one of approximately 200 laboratories worldwide, as well as the testing procedure that requires a two week period of waiting before results are obtained.
  • The lack of incentive for countries to report large scale outbreaks as it may lead to widespread panic and economic loss, as occurred with SARS. These factors can be seen at work in the way that the first bird flu death was reported in China,” Dr. Zimmerman stated.

A young woman, Zhou Maoya, died after returning home to the village of Yantan in Annui province to prepare for her wedding. Her family has stated that they did not take her to the hospital because they thought it would not do any good. Officials also note rural Chinese also often cite relatively expensive medical costs as a reason for not seeking treatment when sick.

Although initially authorities attributed her death to pneumonia the resulting political pressure prompted China to invite the World Health Organization to send experts to investigate. The authorities then rescinded the previous position and attributed her death to bird flu based on the similarity of the symptoms that she was reported to exhibit with those of bird flu. The village was quarantined and journalists were denied access. It is not known how many others might be infected in the village. Official announcements were made of plans to vaccinate and cull birds.

A local government official, Fan Qian, told AFP that it was believed Zhou was infected while she was outside of the province.

Fan Tan, a local official, told AFP news that 1,000 birds in Yantan had been culled (killed). Plans were announced to vaccinate 2 million poultry in the area, a huge and difficult task.

Zhang, another official, said authorities had met with all villagers to give them flu vaccinations and to tell them how to protect themselves against the bird flu virus, including not consuming poultry products. It is known that flu vaccinations do not protect against bird flu.

Villagers and local officials minimized the threat. In outlying areas of Yantan, residents said that they did not know of any new outbreaks. Other possible infections have been attributed to similar common causes but there have not been any tests performed validating those attributions.

Fan Litan, a peasant woman from Fantu village, about 2 miles from Yantan, lost many of her ducks, and chickens and also a dog; she has attributed these deaths to the acts of hooligans. She said her family had been extremely frightened when her animals suddenly died. “We were scared to death,” said Fan, standing next to a red sign posted on the outside wall of her home that said: “Prevention and control by the masses is basic for people.” Fan said ducks and chickens are all healthy but she admitted that she had stopped eating poultry. No testing of these birds has been reported yet.

According to a recent AFP report from Liuchang, 59 miles south of Yantan, the obstacles to identifying infections are enormous.

Like many, one Liuchang villager named Wang Hemin said he was concerned and would keep a closer eye on his ducks and chickens, but felt no immediacy since the infection was not in his province. He learned about bird flu on TV, and is aware that officials have come to his village of 2,700 people to warn residents about the virus. They offered guidelines: they told people that poultry which die suddenly could have contracted bird flu and should not be eaten or sold and that such an incident should also immediately be reported. However, the symptoms of H5N1 bird flu were not directly described.

Residents have not yet been fully informed of what symptoms to look for in ill poultry–they are fever, diarrhea, teary eyes and swelling in the legs of the birds. Though a pledge was made earlier in the week to vaccinate 2 million birds immediately, no bird vaccinations in this area have been reported yet.

In another nearby village, Nazahuang, chickens scuttle in and out of houses. One resident, Fan Jiexu, 73, said no officials had yet warned her village to take precautions. Throughout rural areas, it is customary for chickens to scuttle in and out of homes. Ducks and bird often die and are eaten by villagers when it is believed safe to do so.

China has reported 17 avian flu outbreaks as of this week. Despite the Chinese government issued high alerts, critical information is not being adequately communicated to some rural villages. The size of the poultry population, the common and normal occurrence of poultry death on farms, and status of roughly 70% of the poultry population as being kept in backyards are factors complicating infection control.

The head of World Health Organization’s China office, Henk Bekedam, is aware that slow reaction to bird flu threats and difficulty monitoring poultry in the world’s most populous country makes control of its spread challenging.

Testing is required to confirm H5N1 virus, and positive test results lead to the killing of nearby flocks. The incentive for many villagers, officials, and governments to minimize reports of H5N1 virus infections and severe medical and economic complications for making confirmations of infection are obstacles opposing complete and full reporting of the spread and infection rates of the virus.

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Camel Rock Festival held in Scilly

Category : Uncategorized

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The August Bank Holiday weekend, as usual, played host to many festivals and musical events around the UK, not least the Camel Rock Festival held at Porthcressa on the Isles of Scilly. But will it be the last?

Local bands included those formed at the Five Islands’ School, the members of the Steamband under the temporary name Senile Shambles and the rhythm and blues band, Roadrunner. Bands imported from mainland England included Murdoch, from Manchester.

The event, deemed ‘unique’ in the local press, raises money for local musical projects on the islands. It’s future is, as always, in doubt due to the amount of work for organisers and volunteers, especially for the clean-up operation. Organiser Paul Lewis hopes that the event will return next year as long as there are still volunteers.

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