[OOC] Allania

December 31, 2011

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By Agence France-Presse
Monday, December 19, 2011

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US researchers said Monday they have discovered how to keep tumor cells alive in a lab, generating buzz in the scientific community about a potential breakthrough that could transform cancer treatment.

Until now, scientists have been unable to make cancer cells thrive for very long, or in a condition that resembles the way they act in the body. Doctors diagnose and recommend treatment largely based on biopsied tissue that is frozen or set in wax.

The advance has sparked new hope that someday doctors may be able to test a host of cancer-killing drugs on a person?s own tumor cells in the lab, before returning to the patient with a therapy that is a proven to be a good match.

?This would really be the ultimate in personalized medicine,? said lead author Richard Schlegel, chairman of the department of pathology at Georgetown University?s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

?The therapies would be exactly from their tissues. We would get normal tissue and tumor tissue from a particular patient and specifically match up their therapies,? he told AFP.

?We are really excited about the possibilities of testing we can do with this.?

The method, described in the online edition of the American Journal of Pathology, borrows from a simple method used in stem cell research, experts said.

Lung, breast, prostate and colon cancers were kept alive for up to two years using the technique, which combines fibroblast feeder cells to keep cells alive and a Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitor that allows them to reproduce.

When treated with the duo, both cancer and normal cells reverted to a ?stem-like state,? Schlegel said, allowing researchers to compare the living cells directly for the first time.

If other scientists can replicate the technique ? and three labs in the United States are already working on it ? the advance could herald a long-awaited transformation in the way cancer cells are studied.

?A tumor from one patient is different from a cancer from another patient, and really that is one important reason why so many clinical trials fail,? said Marc Symons, investigator at the Center for Oncology and Cell Biology at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York.

?I think it is fair to say this revolutionizes the way we think of cancer treatment,? added Symons, who was not involved in the study.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in the world, killing 7.6 million people in 2008, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.

Agence France-Presse

AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.

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Source: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/19/scientific-community-abuzz-cancer-breakthroug/

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Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant (25) gets past Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) during the second half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant (25) gets past Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) during the second half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy talks with coaches in the booth during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Travis Daniels (34) during the second half of an NFL football game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(AP) ? Mike McCarthy never put a whole lot of stock in a perfect season, except as a means of gaining home-field advantage and setting the Green Bay Packers up for another Super Bowl run.

Well, they still have a chance to earn home-field advantage.

The perfect season? That’s history.

Kyle Orton threw for 299 yards to outduel Aaron Rodgers, and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied behind interim coach Romeo Crennel for a shocking 19-14 victory on Sunday that ended the Packers’ 19-game winning streak. It was their first loss since Dec. 19, 2010, at New England.

“I personally always viewed the undefeated season as, really, just gravy,” McCarthy said. “The goal was to get home-field advantage and win the Super Bowl. That’s what we discussed.

“We were fortunate enough to be in the position to possibly achieve the undefeated season,” he added, “but we still have the primary goal in front of us, and that’s to get home-field advantage.”

Green Bay, playing without leading receiver Greg Jennings and top rusher James Starks because of injuries, can wrap up the No. 1 seed in their final two games against Chicago and Detroit. But the Packers no longer have the pressure of becoming the second team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl with a perfect record, or extending the second-longest winning streak in league history.

“I think our goal ultimate goal is to win a Super Bowl. The next step is getting that number one seed in the playoffs,” Rodgers said. “We’ve got a home playoff game ? we’ve got a bye secured.”

Rodgers was 17 of 35 for 235 yards and a touchdown, and he also scampered 8 yards for another touchdown with 2:12 left in the game. But the Packers (13-1) were unable to recover the onside kick, and Kansas City picked up a couple of first downs to secure the victory.

“They had a good game plan,” Rodgers said. “You have to give them credit.”

Ryan Succop kicked four field goals for Kansas City (6-8), which had lost five of its last six games and fired coach Todd Haley last Monday. Jackie Battle added a short touchdown plunge with 4:53 left in the game, points that came in handy when Rodgers led one last scoring drive.

“Everybody had marked it off as a win for the Packers, but those guys in the locker room, they’re football players,” Crennel said. “They decided they were not going to lay down, they were not going to give up, so they went out and played a tremendous game.”

Neither team looked all that tremendous in the first half.

Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson was hit twice with offensive pass interference, Rodgers was harassed by the Chiefs’ weak pass rush, and Green Bay wound up making five first downs.

One of them came when Kansas City’s Jeremy Horne ran into Packers punter Tim Masthay, giving them 15 free yards. The Chiefs tried to give Green Bay another gift later on the drive when Mason Crosby missed a 59-yard field goal attempt but Kansas City had 12 men on the field.

With another chance from 54 yards, the normally reliable Crosby still pushed the kick right.

Rodgers finished the half 6 of 17 for 59 yards, with a handful of drops between wide receiver Donald Driver and tight end Jermichael Finley. In fact, things were going so badly for Green Bay that at one point it ran out of the wildcat despite having one of the best quarterbacks in the game.

The Chiefs were still clinging to a 6-0 lead when Rodgers finally hit down field, finding Finley over top the coverage for a 41-yard gain. Three plays later, the Packers’ star quarterback hit Driver in the corner of the end zone for a 7-6 lead with 8:04 left in the third quarter.

Kansas City answered when Orton hit his own tight end, Leonard Pope, for a career-long 38-yard catch. Jon Baldwin added a 17-yard grab to set up Succop’s 46-yard, go-ahead field goal.

The Packers moved into field-goal range on their ensuing drive, but rather than have Crosby attempt a 56-yard kick in the same direction he had already missed, McCarthy elected to go for it on fourth-and-9. Rodgers’ pass fell incomplete and the Chiefs took over.

They needed seven plays to cover 59 yards, but had to settle for another field goal and a 12-7 lead. It was the third time the Chiefs drove inside the 5 and had six total points to show for it.

They got seven on their next trip, though.

With first-and-goal at the 5, Thomas Jones managed to gain a yard and Le’Ron McClain bulled ahead for three more, setting up third down from just outside the goal line. Battle took the carry over the right side and powered into the end zone, giving the woeful Kansas City offense its highest-scoring game since the Chiefs beat San Diego in overtime in late October.

The Packers marched down field in the closing minutes, and Rodgers showed his moxie by scampering around the end for a touchdown that made it 19-14, but that was as close as they got.

Green Bay came into the game averaging nearly 36 points, but was held to its lowest total since beating the Chicago Bears 10-3 in Week 17 last year. The Packers needed to win that game to make the playoffs, and wound up riding the momentum to a Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

All that momentum finally came to an end against the most unlikely of scenarios.

“We set the tone on both sides of the ball,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “This is the great thing about football. You can’t always look at the records, because you’ve got grown men out there who are all getting paid. You don’t have to be better on paper.

“If you’re better on that given Sunday, you’ll get the win.”

Notes: Succop has made 21 consecutive field goals. … Palko was inactive for Kansas City. … The Chiefs wound up having the ball for 36:11, while Green Bay had it for 23:49. … Kansas City won despite going 1 for 5 in the red zone. … Packers OL Derek Sherrod broke his leg in the fourth quarter. He was playing in place of Bryan Bulaga, who went down with a knee strain.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/347875155d53465d95cec892aeb06419/Article_2011-12-18-Packers-Chiefs/id-932d0b2a4d204713a52224e3f125a60e

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ScienceDaily (Dec. 19, 2011) ? Engineers have discovered details about the behavior of ultrafast laser pulses that may lead to new applications in manufacturing, diagnostics and other research.

Ultrafast laser pulses are used to create features and surface textures in metals, ceramics and other materials for applications including the manufacture of solar cells and biosensors. The lasers pulse at durations of 100 femtoseconds, or quadrillionths of a second, and cause electrons to reach temperatures greater than 60,000 degrees Celsius during the pulse duration. The pulses create precise patterns in a process called “cold ablation,” which turns material into a plasma of charged particles.

Images taken with a high-speed camera show tiny mushroom clouds eerily similar in appearance to those created in a nuclear explosion. The clouds expand outward at speeds of 100 to 1,000 times the speed of sound within less than one nanosecond. However, new findings reveal that an earlier cloud forms immediately before the mushroom cloud, and this early plasma interferes with the laser pulses, hindering performance, said Yung Shin, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of Purdue University’s Center for Laser-Based Manufacturing.

Finding a way to eliminate the interference caused by the early plasma could open up new applications in manufacturing, materials and chemical processing, machining and advanced sensors to monitor composition, and chemical and atomic reactions on an unprecedented scale, he said.

Researchers used experiments and simulations to study the phenomenon. Research papers about the work were published online Dec. 6 in Applied Physics Letters and in September in the journal Physics of Plasmas. The papers were written by doctoral student Wenqian Hu, Shin and mechanical engineering professor Galen King.

“We found the formation of early plasma has very significant bearing on the use of ultrashort pulse lasers because it partially blocks the laser beam,” Shin said. “The early plasma changes the optical properties of air, but the mechanism is still largely unknown.”

The researchers studied the early plasma by tracking the movement of millions of individual atoms in the plasma; observing how the laser beam travels in space and interacts with plasma; and using a “laser pump probe shadowgraph,” a technique in which one laser ablates a material, producing the early plasma, and a second laser fired perpendicular to the first is used to study the cloud. A series of optical elements and mirrors is used in the shadowgraph technique.

The research has been funded by the National Science Foundation.

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Purdue University. The original article was written by Emil Venere.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wenqian Hu, Yung C. Shin, Galen King. Early-stage plasma dynamics with air ionization during ultrashort laser ablation of metal. Physics of Plasmas, 2011; 18 (9): 093302 DOI: 10.1063/1.3633067

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111219152725.htm

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Thieves have stolen a large bronze sculpture by one of Britain’s most important modern sculptors.

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The sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, called “Two Forms (Divided Circle),” was discovered missing Tuesday morning after being ripped from its plinth from south London’s Dulwich Park.

The piece was designed in 1969 and had been in the park since 1970, according to a BBC report. It was insured for ?500,000, but the price it could collect as scrap metal would only be a fraction of its value as a complete work.

Local government officials said they will ask police and their metal theft unit to investigate the matter immediately.

The theft came after Metropolitan Police on Monday dedicated a unit to tackle those who steal cables and car metal parts for scrap metal ? a growing problem as prices for copper, lead and bronze soar.

The BBC says Dame Barbara Hepworth, who died in 1975 in a fire at her studio in St Ives, Cornwall, is considered to be one of the UK’s most important modern sculptors, with her work displayed in museums and public spaces around the world.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45740756/ns/today-entertainment/

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Highlights of legislation renewing payroll tax cuts, jobless benefits approved by the House and Senate:

House bill, approved last Tuesday:

_Price tag over $180 billion.

_Keeps this year’s 4.2 percent Social Security payroll tax rate paid by 160 million workers through the end of 2012, instead of rising to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1.

_Extends expiring benefits for the long-term jobless through 2012, but at a maximum of 79 weeks coverage, less in some cases, well below this year’s 99-week limit. Revamps program to require beneficiaries without high school diplomas to seek an equivalent degree; lets states test applicants for illegal drug use.

_Prevents 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors for 2012.

_Blocks Obama administration rule curbing pollution from industrial boilers; extends tax break for businesses buying equipment for 2012.

_Requires President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline within 60 days unless he declares the project would not serve the national interest.

_Paid for by extending current pay freeze on civilian federal workers another year through 2013 and requires them to contribute more toward their pensions; raises fee Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge for insuring mortgages; raises Medicare premiums paid by higher-income elderly; cuts some health care overhaul law programs; sells part of broadcast spectrum; prevents illegal immigrant parents from collecting child tax credit refund checks; bars food stamps, unemployment benefits for the wealthy.

Senate bill, approved Saturday:

_Price tag $33 billion.

_Extends 2-percentage-point cut in Social Security payroll tax through Feb. 29.

_Renews benefits for the long-term unemployed at current levels through Feb. 29, no other changes in program.

_Prevents 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors; extends other health care fees through Feb. 29.

_Same provision on Keystone as House.

_Paid for by increasing home loan guarantee fees charged to mortgage lenders by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration by one-tenth of 1 percentage point. The fee is passed on to home buyers and will apply to many new purchases and refinancings starting Jan. 1.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/uscongress/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111219/ap_on_go_co/us_congress_rdp_bill_comparison

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Lady GagaWe’re still working to confirm this, but it looks like someone has finagled their way into Lady Gaga’s insanely popular Twitter account. That, or the pop icon really did just offer free iPad 2s to all 17 million people that follower her (through the shadiest looking website in the world, no less.)

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UNITED NATIONS ? Fourteen frustrated members of the U.N. Security Council are pointing a finger at the United States for blocking any condemnation of Israel’s accelerated settlement construction in Palestinian territory.

In a move which Russia called historic, diplomats from all regional blocs represented on the council stepped to the microphone Tuesday to condemn the lack of progress toward a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While the United States was not mentioned by name, their anger was clearly directed at Washington which vetoed a resolution in February backed by the 14 other council members that would have demanded an immediate halt to all settlement building.

The U.S., Israel’s closest ally, chose not to speak to reporters.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111220/ap_on_re_us/un_un_palestinians_israel

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Cover that cough (Offthekuff)

December 31, 2011

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