Actor Gary Sinise Donates Nearly $60,000 To Colorado Firefighters

Green – The Huffington Post
Actor Gary Sinise Donates Nearly $60,000 To Colorado Firefighters
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Actor Gary Sinise (suh-NEES’), well-known for his role as Lieutenant Dan in the movie “Forrest Gump,” has made a large donation to help first responders who rescued people and fought the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.

Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey choked back tears Tuesday while accepting the nearly $60,000 check he says his department desperately needs. KKTV-TV reports (http://tinyurl.com/qhqd4u4) the largely volunteer fire department this summer lost many expensive pieces of equipment, including radios and fire hoses, while battling Black Forest Fire northeast of Colorado Springs . Those will all be replaced.

The money comes from the Gary Sinise Foundation. Sinise sent a video message saying he was happy to help out.

The fire in June killed two people, burned about 22 square miles and destroyed more than 480 homes. The cause is still being investigated.

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Information from: KKTV-TV, http://www.kktv.com/

Shell Abandons Oil-Shale Project In Colorado After Pumping Millions Into Exploration
DENVER — DENVER (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell PLC has become the latest company to abandon efforts to turn Western Slope oil-shale into oil, joining a long line of companies in a boom and bust cycle in the region.

The company said energy markets have changed since the project started in 1982, and the company no longer wants to continue efforts to turn oily shale rock into liquid by heating the rock and pumping out the oil. Chevron stopped its oil-shale research in Rio Blanco County in February 2012.

“We are exiting our Colorado project to focus on other opportunities,” Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh said. “Our focus is to work with our staff and contractors to safely stop research activities and close the site.”

Efforts to squeeze the oil from the shale in the Rockies stretch back decades. An oil shale boom in Colorado in the early 1980s went bust when oil prices dropped and government subsidies dried up. People still refer to “Black Sunday,” May 2, 1982, when Exxon Mobil Corp. shut down a $5 billion project near the West Slope town of Parachute, throwing 2,200 people out of work.

“The economics of oil shale have always been the issue,” said David Abelson, an analyst with Western Resource Advocates, an environmental group opposing shale development.

Shell spent an estimated $30 million to create a test subterranean wall to hold in the shale oil when it was heated, but full-scale production would probably have required building a large power plant, the Denver Post reported Wednesday (http://tinyurl.com/qydcqph).

The new oil plays in North Dakota and Texas and along Colorado’s Front Range, which are producing large quantities of oil, hurt the viability of oil shale, said Jim Spehar, former mayor of Grand Junction.

“Out here on the Western Slope, oil shale will always be the fuel of the future,” Spehar said.

Shell on Tuesday announced plans to build a $12.5 billion plant in Louisiana that would turn natural gas into diesel, jet fuel and other liquids.

“We have a large portfolio of opportunities, all competing for capital,” op de Weegh said.

Government and industry officials estimate 1 trillion to 1.8 trillion barrels of oil — up to three times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia — are locked in rock in parts of western Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Roughly 800 billion barrels are considered recoverable.

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Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com

Gene Yale, Chicago-Area Apple Grower With 178 Varieties In His Yard, Doesn’t Like To Eat Apples
A suburban Chicago man famous for his mini backyard apple orchard comprising an astounding 178 varieties recently revealed a rather surprising fact.

He doesn’t really like apples — at least not eating them.

Gene Yale of suburban Skokie told ABC Chicago Tuesday that his apple intake is “next to none a year. I hate to tell you that.”

“Apples have never been — I’m not a fruit eater. I love growing them… I don’t eat them,” the 83-year-old former salesman said. (embedded above)

Yale’s love of apple growing has made him something of a Midwestern orchardist celebrity. He’s been growing dwarf apple trees in his 2,400-square-foot backyard for more than 40 years, according to a Medill Reports profile from 2009.

(See a map of Yale’s back yard from 1997.)

“It started out as a hobby that went wrong,” Yale told Medill. “We had an apple and a cherry tree in our yard when I was growing up on the South Side, and as the eldest boy I laid claim to the apple tree because it was the best for climbing.”

There are some 2,500 varieties of apple grown in the U.S. according to the University of Illinois Extension, though just a handful of them are sold commercially (think familiar names like McIntosh, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious).

Yale’s apples, on the contrary, are considered “ancient and rare” and come with names like Fortune New York 429, Yoko and Fireside.

As for the bounty from his 178 dwarf trees, he simply gives it away.

Yale is a longtime member of the backyard orchard enthusiast group Midwest Fruit Explorers (or Midfex for short) which is holding their annual Harvest Festival at the Chicago Botanic Garden Oct. 19-20 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

U.S. Geological Survey Office Braces For Potential Government Shutdown
Jeff Kershner remembers the last time the government shut down. Back in the mid-1990s, Kershner was with the Forest Service at their Logan, Idaho, office. “We literally had to lock the building, because everyone still comes in,” said Kershner.

Kershner is now the director of the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, a division of the U.S. Geological Survey based in Bozeman, Mont. Last week, he prepared his staff for the possibility that they could be furloughed if Congress doesn’t pass a funding bill by Sept. 30. Kershner said his office is trying to discourage employees from working in the event of a shutdown, but most people still want to work anyway — which basically means they’re working for free. “People still come in,” he said. “That’s just the way it is.”

Even without the potential for a government shutdown, getting science done in their office has gotten harder in the past few years, Kershner said. The office has lost seven staff scientists to retirement — including a grizzly bear biologist working in Glacier National Park, a vegetation specialist, a scientist who studied wildfire intensity and a wildlife ecology specialist — but has only been able to replace one of them. What was once a 19-person scientific team is now down to 13. “We stay in the black by not replacing them,” said Kershner.

The House has proposed another 9 percent budget cut for USGS next year.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Brown University To Host ‘Nudity In The Upspace’ Week
Brown University is about to play host to a week-long celebration of nudity.

The “Nudity in the Upspace” week goes from Sept. 30 to Oct. 5 on the Ivy league campus in Providence, R.I. The organizers write on the Facebook page the week intends to confront stigmas about the naked body and open a space space for discussions on it, with “All bodies welcome!”

So what will go on at nudity week?

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, there will be a nude yoga class that promises to “stretch your body perhaps in ways that it hasn’t been stretched before.” Organizers will provide mats, but ask attendees to bring a towel.

There will be nude cabaret, nude open mic night, nude body painting, personal testimonies about nudity and a panel on how issues like race and class intersect with nudity and body image.

All events will be held in the Production Workshop Upspace in one of the campus buildings. The organizers did not respond to a quest for comment from The Huffington Post, but were clear to note on the Facebook page “absolutely no phones, camera, or bags will be allowed in the space.”

Students held similar events during last year’s nudity week at Brown, which the creators considered a success. Camila Pacheco-Fores, a then-Brown junior, told the Brown Daily Herald they wanted to discuss what’s normally a social taboo.

“It’s been incredible to learn that being naked is just fun!” Pacheco-Fores told the Daily Herald in September 2012. “Penises, vaginas, boobs, butts — body parts that used to make me feel awkward and uncomfortable before now I just see as another part of another beautiful body.”

Brown’s nudity event is somewhat rare among collegiate campuses. Brown already has a Sex Week in March, which is not unlike similar events at other Ivy League schools like Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University — the originator of the college Sex Week.

These Photos Prove It’s Possible To Find Inner Peace Anywhere
California prisons have been under fire for overcrowding and solitary confinement conditions. While prisoners captured headlines recently with a 60-day hunger strike, we found these prisoners capturing our imaginations as they found a way to thrive behind bars.

These aren’t the type of prison photos we are used to seeing, but we were inspired by these depictions of grace and beauty as photographer Robert Sturman documented prisoners who have devoted themselves to yoga.

Sturman, who is now 43, participated in his first yoga class at the age of 19 at UC Santa Cruz. In 2011, he was invited by the warden of the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, California to attend and photograph the yoga classes at the prison. He also visited San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, California and met other prisoners with yoga practices.

robert sturman

Deuel Vocational Institution: Tracy, Calif.

robert sturman

San Quentin State Prison: San Quentin, Calif.

robert sturman

Deuel Vocational Institution: Tracy, Calif.

robert sturman

Deuel Vocational Institution: Tracy, Calif.

robert sturman

Deuel Vocational Institution: Tracy, Calif.

robert sturman

Deuel Vocational Institution: Tracy, Calif.

robert sturman

San Quentin State Prison: San Quentin, Calif.

robert sturman

San Quentin State Prison: San Quentin, Calif.

robert sturman

San Quentin State Prison: San Quentin, Calif.

robert sturman

San Quentin State Prison: San Quentin, Calif.

robert sturman

San Quentin State Prison: San Quentin, Calif.

robert sturman

San Quentin State Prison: San Quentin, Calif.

robert sturman

San Quentin State Prison: San Quentin, Calif.

robert sturman

Deuel Vocational Institution: Tracy, Calif.

robert sturman

Deuel Vocational Institution: Tracy, Calif.

robert sturman

Deuel Vocational Institution: Tracy, Calif.

Happy Marriages Make For Healthier People, Study Reveals
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, happy marriages make for healthier people.

The study, which followed 1,681 people for 20 years, found a correlation between happy marriages and spouses’ physical health.

Study participants were broken into two groups — 18-39-year-olds and those ages 40-55. Researchers questioned each participant about how content they were in their marriages and about the marital problems they face. Respondents were then asked to rank their health as either excellent, good, fair or poor.

The researchers found that there was a strong correlation between good health and how happy people were in their marriages, regardless of age. They also found that for the younger group, the connection between increasing marital happiness and improving individual health was particularly strong, and that for the older group, decreasing marital problems was strongly linked to improving physical health.

“We wanted to compare the health trajectory with the happiness trajectory,” co-author Cody Hollist said in a press release. “As health worsens, do their marriages stay stable? What we found is that there’s a relationship between health and happiness for both age groups. If their health is good, their happiness is up.”

This isn’t the first time researchers have looked at the intersection of romance and health. In January 2013, a study found that hugging, kissing and cuddling can improve your health. And another study from that same month found that happily married people live longer than single people.

Click through the slideshow below for more interesting findings about marriage.

Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Weddings on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Artificial Sugar Sabotages Weight Loss Efforts: Yale Study
Think you’re saving yourself extra calories by going the artificial sweetener route? New research suggests you’re just setting yourself up to fail.

That’s the conclusion of a new study out of Yale University which found that eating low-calorie sweetened products may actually sabotage efforts to reduce calorie intake, by leading people to reach for higher calorie alternatives later on.

Or, as scientists put it, despite good intentions, the brain can’t be fooled by artificial sweeteners.

That’s because in their animal research, scientists observed that a specific physiological signal that regulates dopamine levels — the feel-good chemical that works with the reward center in the brain — only arose when sugar was broken down into a form that could be used as fuel and energy for the body.

For the study, scientists performed behavioral testing involving sweeteners and sugars and measured chemical responses in the brain circuit.

“According to the data, when we apply substances that interfere with a critical step of the ‘sugar-to-energy pathway’, the interest of the animals in consuming artificial sweetener decreases significantly, along with important reductions in brain dopamine levels,” explained lead author Ivan de Araujo in the Journal of Physiology.

In an opinion article published in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism this summer, experts also pointed to similar studies which showed that consuming zero-calorie sweeteners altered the brain’s pleasure center and dampened physiological responses to sweet taste, causing mice to overindulge in calorie-dense foods later.

Artificial sweeteners have also been associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The overall lesson from the study? Limit the intake of artificial sweeteners, stick to water and if the craving is too strong, opt for fiber-rich, unprocessed natural fruit juices or smoothies.

Eating These Foods May NOT Help Thinking Skills After All
For years, many health experts have hailed foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids as being good for the lowering of stroke risk, as well as for the reduction of the risk of mild cognitive impairment. But other studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids — and fish oil supplements in particular — actually don’t lower one’s risk of stroke or heart attack.

With so many contrasting opinions, it’s been difficult to determine what’s true and what’s not.

Now new research is clouding the picture even further by suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids — found in fatty fish such as salmon and in nuts — may not benefit thinking skills, as some earlier studies have indicated.

The study is published in the Sept. 25 online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“There has been a lot of interest in omega-3s as a way to prevent or delay cognitive decline, but unfortunately our study did not find a protective effect in older women. In addition, most randomized trials of omega-3 supplements have not found an effect,” said study author Eric Ammann of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, in a press release. “However, we do not recommend that people change their diet based on these results. Researchers continue to study the relationship between omega-3s and the health of the heart, blood vessels, and brain. We know that fish and nuts can be healthy alternatives to red meat and full-fat dairy products, which are high in saturated fats.”

Researchers studied 2,157 women between the ages of 65 and 80 who were enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative clinical trials of hormone therapy. The women were given annual tests of thinking and memory skills for an average of six years. Blood tests were taken to measure the amount of omega-3s in the participants’ blood before the start of the study.

The researchers found no difference between the women with high and low levels of omega-3s in the blood at the time of the first memory tests. There was also no difference between the two groups in how quickly their thinking skills declined over time.

The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

What does appear to be good for the brain is chocolate. In a small study conducted earlier this year, Harvard researchers found that drinking two cups of hot chocolate a day for 30 days was linked with improved blood flow to the brain and better scores on memory and thinking skill tests for elderly people.

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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