Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11776 on: Nov 17th, 2014, 10:03am »
GOOD MORNING ALL
DEA agents raid NFL medical staffs after games
By JIM LITKE Nov. 17, 2014 1:51 AM EST
Federal drug enforcement agents showed up unannounced Sunday to check at least three visiting NFL teams' medical staffs as part of an investigation into former players' claims that teams mishandled prescription drugs.
There were no arrests, Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Rusty Payne said Sunday. The San Francisco 49ers' staff was checked at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, after they played the New York Giants. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' staff was checked at Baltimore-Washington International airport after playing the Redskins. The Seattle Seahawks, who played at Kansas City, confirmed via the team's Twitter account that they were spot-checked as well.
The operation was still ongoing, and other teams may be checked later Sunday, Payne said.
"DEA agents are currently interviewing NFL team doctors in several locations as part of an ongoing investigation into potential violations of the (Controlled Substances Act)," Payne said.
The spot checks were done by investigators from the federal DEA. They did not target specific teams, but were done to measure whether visiting NFL clubs were generally in compliance with federal law. Agents requested documentation from visiting teams' medical staffs for any controlled substances in their possession, and for proof that doctors could practice medicine in the home team's state.
"Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email.
The nationwide probe is being directed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York — where the NFL is headquartered — but involves several U.S. attorney's offices.
The investigation was sparked by a lawsuit filed in May on behalf of former NFL players going back to 1968. The number of plaintiffs has grown to more than 1,200, including dozens who played as recently as 2012. Any violations of federal drug laws from 2009 forward could also become the subject of a criminal investigation because they would not be subject to the five-year statute of limitations.
"This is an unprecedented raid on a professional sports league," said Steve Silverman, one of the attorneys for the former players. "I trust the evidence reviewed and validated leading up to this action was substantial and compelling."
Federal prosecutors have conducted interviews in at least three cities over the past three weeks, spending two days in Los Angeles in late October meeting with a half-dozen former players — including at least two who were named plaintiffs in the painkillers lawsuit, according to multiple people with direct knowledge of the meetings who spoke on the condition of anonymity because prosecutors told them not to comment on the meetings.
The lawsuit alleges the NFL and its teams, physicians and trainers acted without regard for players' health, withholding information about injuries while at the same time handing out prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet, and anti-inflammatories such as Toradol, to mask pain and minimize lost playing time. The players contend some teams filled out prescriptions in players' names without their knowledge or consent, then dispensed those drugs — according to one plaintiff's lawyer — "like candy at Halloween," along with combining them in "cocktails."
Several former players interviewed by The Associated Press described the line of teammates waiting to get injections on game day often spilling out from the training room. Others recounted flights home from games where trainers walked down the aisle and players held up a number of fingers to indicate how many pills they wanted.
The controlled substance act says only doctors and nurse practitioners can dispense prescription drugs, and only in states where they are licensed. The act also lays out stringent requirements for acquiring, labeling, storing and transporting drugs. Trainers who are not licensed would be in violation of the law simply by carrying a controlled substance.
The former players have reported a range of debilitating effects, from chronic muscle and bone ailments to permanent nerve and organ damage to addiction. They contend those health problems came from drug use, but many of the conditions haven't been definitively linked to painkillers.
The lawsuit is currently being heard in the northern district of California, where presiding judge William Alsup said he wants to hear the NFL Players Association's position on the case before deciding on the league's motion to dismiss. The NFL maintained that it's not responsible for the medical decisions of its 32 teams. League attorneys also argued the issue should be addressed by the union, which negotiated a collective bargaining agreement that covers player health.
The DEA investigation comes during a turbulent time for the NFL.
The league is still weathering criticism over its treatment of several players accused of domestic violence and just wrapped up an arbitration hearing involving Ravens running back Ray Rice, who is contesting the length of his suspension. The league has hired former FBI director Robert Mueller III to investigate its handling of the Rice case.
The NFL is also trying to finalize a $765 million class-action settlement reached in August 2013 over complaints by thousands of former players that the NFL concealed the risk of concussions.
Brent Grommet and Matty, lower right, with their crew in Afghanistan. After a campaign spurred by talk-radio host Michael Savage, a wounded Army soldier was reunited after 16 months with the Czech German shepherd who helped him hunt buried explosives in Afghanistan.
The Army admitted it had mistakenly allowed the dog, Matty, to be given up for adoption instead of being turned over to his handler, Spc. Brent Grommet. The two were trained in the military’s Tactical Explosive Detection Dog program.
Grommet and Matty were together in Afghanistan when an IED exploded nearby, seriously wounding Grommet, who suffered a spinal injury, hearing loss and post-traumatic stress.
matty-brentGrommet, 23, had last seen Matty in July 2013 after arriving in New Jersey, where the dog was taken away for processing.
On Friday, Grommet’s father, Don Grommet of DeSoto, Missouri, picked up Matty in South Carolina, where the dog had been adopted, and took him to the soldier’s home base, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
In an interview Monday with Savage, Don Grommet described the happy reunion.
“He knew Brent immediately. It was just so great, to watch that dog jump all over that young man.”
Don Grommet said his son’s demeanor has brightened since the dog returned, and a limp from his injuries even seems less pronounced.
“My son is laughing, smiling, talking more than he has since he came back from Afghanistan,” Grommet told Savage.
When they landed at an airbase in New Jersey, Brent Grommet knew that he had to give up the dog for processing before getting him back.
He had filed the required paperwork to own Matty under the federal Robby’s Law, which allows a wounded dog handler to have the first option on adoption.
The Clinton-era law eliminated the practice of putting down the animals after they completed their service.
After not hearing from the Army regarding the adoption, the soldier and his father began searching for Matty and traced the dog to an Army veterinary clinic at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
See the entire collection of Savage bestsellers in the WND Superstore.
Grommet refiled the adoption application in January, and he was assured he would receive a response within a few weeks. But no one contacted him until an officer at Fort Bragg informed his father that Matty had been adopted.
Matty had been removed from the military after being diagnosed with a subchondral bone cyst. The Army acknowledged that former handlers have the first option to adopt but said Grommet’s request was not forwarded to the Army’s Office of the Provost Marshall General, which manages the program.
In a petition to the White House, supporters of Grommet urged President Obama to intervene.
The petition said: “His family likened Grommet and Matty’s relationship to that of brothers, and said the soldier needs his combat buddy for a healthy recovery. He’s desperately sought Matty since their separation, and has begged the new owner to consider a purchase or barter for the dog.”
Savage called the reunion the result of a collective effort, but he said a radio show has a reach that other media don’t. He urged listeners to contact Army officials and lawmakers. And he noted there were callers to his Veteran’s Day show spotlighting the case who wouldn’t go on the radio but privately told the call screener they had connections and were so angry they were going to call the brigadier general.
“I think that behind the scenes, that is why the dog was reunited,” Savage said.
But he emphasized “there are no villains here, only heroes.”
On the Free Republic news-forum website, readers credited Savage, including one who called him “instrumental in getting this accomplished.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11780 on: Nov 18th, 2014, 08:23am »
GOOD MORNING ALL
What’s Up With That: My Beer Tastes Like a Skunk’s Bathwater
By Nick Stockton 11.18.14 8:00 am
I like beer, and I ain’t picky. In fact, I go out of my way to try new brews. I’ve explored hop-laden IPAs, cheek-puckering sours, gruits brewed with lichen, and I still appreciate a Budweiser. The only beer I can’t abide is one that fills my mouth with bunk-ass, skunky flavor.
You know what I’m talking about. You crack a bottle, take a swig, and your mouth is filled with what tastes like a skunk’s bath water. I wanted to know what causes the funky flavor, and more importantly, can it be stopped?
So I asked chemist Roger Barth of West Chester University in Pennsylvania, who wrote The Chemistry of Beer, and teaches a course of the same name. He told me the culprit is light. “In fact, the technical term is lightstruck,” he said. It is well known to brewers.
Granted, light has ruined many a buzz (Closing time already!?!), but how does light turn my favorite drink into a something I can’t stand?
It’s best to start with a bit of background on brewing, says Barth. Beer begins with malted grains (usually barley, but rice, corn, wheat, rye, and oats also are used), which are stewed in hot water until their starches break down into dissolvable sugars. Remove the spent grains, then boil in the hops. This releases from the hops a ring-shaped molecule called isohumulone, which is responsible for beer’s characteristic bitterness. The final step is adding yeast, which converts the malty sugars into alcohol. But let’s get back to those beautiful, bitter isohumulones, because those are where light does its dirty work.
Ultraviolet rays break the bond connecting the central isohumulone ring to a side chain of oxygen and carbon molecules. This newly released molecule (called a free radical) has a spare electron, which is desperate to bond with any other available molecule. Floating in the beer are many potential partners, most of which are safe from a taste perspective. However, when a free radical mingles with a certain sulfur alcohol molecule (called sulfmethyl) present in small amounts in beer, the two will combine into something that smells a lot like an angry skunk.
In fact, Barth says the molecule they create, 3-methylbut-2-ene-1-thiol (or 3MBT), is similar to the chemical responsible for the skunk’s stink. It doesn’t take much to spoil your brew, either. According to Barth, your tongue can taste 3MBTs at a concentration of seven parts per trillion. This would be like tasting a pint glass of beer poured into a large pond (please don’t attempt this).
Clear glass bottles leave your beer the most vulnerable. Green bottles offer some protection, but not enough to mount an argument in their defense. However, there is a cure: Brown bottles block the ultraviolet rays that break isohumulones apart, which is why most craft brewers always have chosen brown glass. Until recently, that is. Many brewers are switching to aluminum cans, which have some advantages over bottles and can also keep beer from being lightstruck.
But if your beer isn’t in a can or a brown bottle, it doesn’t take much light to start the skunking. “If you carry a beer into the bright sun, it can get skunked almost immediately,” Barth said. Fluorescent lights will do the job in a matter of hours. More hops means more isohumulones, so the hoppier the beer, the faster and more thorough the skunk.
This could explain why certain clear-bottled brands suggest you squeeze a lime into their beer to mask the skunk before taking a swig. But if you must, for reasons I will never understand, drink a Heineken, I suggest you get it on tap and hide your shame in a dark corner of the bar.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11781 on: Nov 18th, 2014, 08:28am »
Airbus Wants You to Fly in UFO-like, Flying Doughnut Planes
By Aaron Mamiit, Tech Times November 18, 7:24 AM
The proposed new design for the Airbus drastically moves away from the traditional looks of an airliner and into what seems like a spaceship from a science fiction movie.
The patent application was filed by Airbus SAS, which is the aircraft manufacturing arm of the Airbus Group. If it is accepted, Airbus passengers could find themselves riding in cabins that are shaped like giant doughnuts in the future.
The unique shape is supposed to address a specific problem that aircraft designers are currently facing. While the cylinder shapes that are being used by aircrafts today are excellent in controlling the stresses caused by pressurized cabins, the pressures being exerted on the front and rear of the cylindrical cabins are needed to be supported by heavy and strong structures.
According to the filed application, the proposed design is looking to provide a "simple, economic and efficient solution" to the problem.
Airbus said that, while the proposed design is significant enough to warrant patent protection, it is not yet an idea that can be applied immediately to existing aircraft designs.
The company has released several futuristic and bizarre ideas in the past for patent application, including economy seats shaped like saddles of bicycles that has passengers standing up for the duration of flights, virtual reality headsets for the in-flight entertainment of passengers and even a cockpit devoid of windows.
The newly proposed design that resembles a flying doughnut, however, is so far the most radical proposal for the reinvention of the structure of aircraft. Aside from the decidedly unique shape, the proposed design will change a lot of traditions in terms of air travel, from the way that passengers go onboard the vehicle to how in-flight meals are served and to how the aisles are angled.
The UFO-shaped design, which was drawn up by a group of known investors, namely Romain Delahaye, Patrick Lieven and Catalin Perju, is consistent with the concepts that several companies in the aerospace industry are utilizing in the pursuit for greater fuel efficiency.
"It is an approach that reduces the overall fuel burn for the aircraft," said GE Aviation general manager of engineering technologies Chris Lorence in reference to the proposed design, adding that the new shape could prove to be more efficient aerodynamically than the traditional designs.
Airbus revealed that it pours investments of about €2 billion per year in the company's research and development, which leads to submissions of over 500 applications for patents annually.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11786 on: Nov 19th, 2014, 10:23am »
GOOD MORNING UFOCASEBOOKERS
An Astronaut Reveals What Life in Space Is Really Like
By Marsha Ivins as told to Caitlin Roper 11.19.14
There’s no way to anticipate the emotional impact of leaving your home planet. You look down at Earth and realize: You’re not on it. It’s breathtaking. It’s surreal. It’s a “we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto” kind of feeling. But I’ve spent a total of 55 days in space, over the course of five missions for NASA, and I’ve learned that being out there isn’t just a series of breathtaking moments. It’s a mix of the transcendently magical and the deeply prosaic. It can be crowded, noisy, and occasionally uncomfortable. Space travel—at least the way we do it today—isn’t glamorous. But you can’t beat the view!
Everyone imagines that when you’re sitting on the launchpad atop 7 million pounds of explosive rocket fuel, you’re nervous and worried; but the truth is, there isn’t much to do for those two hours after you climb into the shuttle. Many astronauts just take a nap. You’re strapped in like a sack of potatoes while the system goes through thousands of prelaunch checks. Occasionally you have to wake up and say “Roger” or “Loud and clear.” But the launch itself is a whole other thing—from the pad to orbit in 8.5 minutes, accelerating the entire time until you reach the orbital velocity of 17,500 mph. That is a ride.
It turns out that once you’re actually in orbit, zero-g has some upsides. Without gravity, bodily fluids move toward your head. It’s a great face-lift. Your stomach gets flat. You feel long, because you grow an inch or two. (I thought, “Oh cool, I’ll be tall,” but of course everybody else was taller too.)
But zero-g also has some disadvantages. As that fluid shifts north, you get an enormous headache. Your body compensates and loses about a liter of fluid in the first couple of days—you essentially pee the headache away. And a lot of people get nauseated. The way to feel better is to “lose up,” to convince your visual system that “up” is wherever you point your head and “down” is where your feet are. When you can do that, and go headfirst or earlobe-first wherever you want, then you’re getting adapted to zero-g. On each flight this adaptation happens more quickly—your body remembers having been in space. But it can take a few days before your stomach finally settles down and says, “OK, what’s for lunch?”
I didn’t eat much on any of my flights. I don’t have a big appetite even on Earth, but between the lack of gravity and the shifting fluids, things can taste different in space. I’d bring great chocolate with me and it would taste like wax—it was very disappointing. But you don’t go to space for the gourmet dining. There’s no way to cook, on the shuttle or on the ISS. Space food is already cooked and then either freeze-dried and vacuum-packed—so you add water and put it in the oven to warm up—or it’s thermo-stabilized, like a military MRE. With no refrigerator on board, fresh food won’t keep. So on the shuttle we’d have to eat anything fresh—usually fruit like apples, oranges, and grapefruit—early in the mission.
One of the strangest experiences in space is one of the simplest on Earth: sleeping. On the shuttle, you strap your sleeping bag to the wall or the ceiling or the floor, wherever you want, and you get in. It’s like camping. The bag has armholes, so you stick your arms through, reaching outside the bag to zip it up. You tighten the Velcro straps around you to make you feel like you’re tucked in. Then you strap your head to the pillow—a block of foam—with another Velcro strap, to allow your neck to relax. If you don’t tuck your arms into the bag, they drift out in front of you. Sometimes you wake up in the morning to see an arm floating in front of your face and think, “Whoa! What is that?” until you realize it’s yours.
On most of my flights, I slept in the airlock, in the middeck of the shuttle. Nobody worked in there when we weren’t doing an EVA (extra-vehicular activity), so it was like my own private bedroom. The downside? It was also the coldest part of the shuttle by about 20 degrees. I would tuck my arms into the bag and wear four layers of clothes; sometimes I’d warm up a package of food in the oven and throw it in my sleeping bag like a hot-water bottle. On the last two nights of my final flight, I slept on the flight deck, my sleeping bag strapped beneath the overhead windows. The position of the shuttle put Earth in those windows, so when I woke up the whole world was out there in front of me—in that moment, just for me alone.
The most amazing thing about my spaceflights was how relaxing they were. New astronauts get so worried about fulfilling their duties that they sometimes get hours or days into a mission before stopping to watch the sun rise, even though it happens 16 times a day on orbit. Shuttle flights were always busy—experiments, daily maintenance, EVAs, robotic operations. It was incredibly hard work, stressful in its own way, and scary—if you screwed up, you screwed up with people all over the world watching. But at the same time I found it all very relaxing. When you travel on Earth, you’re almost never out of touch. Anyone can reach you if they need to. But going to space, you are really out of reach. You have comm with the ground and email, sure, but there’s not much you can do about those everyday worries: Did I pay the bills? Did I feed the dog? I felt like everyday things just stopped at the edge of the atmosphere. I was totally liberated from Earth. But all those earthly concerns reattached as soon as we reentered. By the time I landed, my brain was mapping out a to-do list.
I never got sick going to space, but I never felt great coming home. When you return, your inner ear—which keeps you balanced on Earth and which has been essentially turned off for the duration of your trip—feels a little gravity and becomes unbelievably sensitive. Your balance is off and you have to relearn how to move in a gravity field. If I turned my head, I would fall over. Muscles you haven’t used in weeks have to reengage to help you do everyday stuff like walk, stand, and hold things. It can take days or weeks to get your Earth legs back.
It was hard, it was exciting, it was scary, it was indescribable. And yes, I’d go back in a heartbeat.