Exxon Sonar Surveying Blamed For The Deaths Of 100 Whales Near Madagascar

Green – The Huffington Post
Exxon Sonar Surveying Blamed For The Deaths Of 100 Whales Near Madagascar

A noisy technology that blasts sounds below water to map the ocean for oil is being blamed for 100 melon headed whale deaths off Madagascar, experts said Thursday.

An independent panel of scientists found that sonar surveying by ExxonMobil in late May 2008 led to the sudden displacement of the whales, which became stranded and died.

“This is the first known such marine mammal mass stranding event closely associated with relatively high frequency mapping sonar systems,” said the report released by the International Whaling Commission.

“Earlier such events may have been undetected because detailed inquiries were not conducted.”

The researchers described a “highly unusual event” in which about 100 melon headed whales became stranded in shallow waters in the Loza Lagoon system in northwest Madagascar in May and June 2008.

“This typically open ocean cetacean species had never previously nor since been reported in this shallow tidal estuarine system, nor in any other in Madagascar,” said the study.

The culprit was named as a “high power 12 kHz multi beam echosounder system (MBES)” operated by an Exxon Mobil vessel on May 29 about 65 kilometers (40 miles) offshore from the first known stranding.

The five-member independent scientific review panel said the vessel’s operation was “the most plausible and likely behavioral trigger for the animals initially entering the lagoon system.”

The sounds would have been “clearly audible over many hundreds of square kilometers of melon headed whale deep water habitat areas.”

The advocacy group Oceana said the findings show how dangerous the technology can be to aquatic animals.

“Seismic blasts can disturb the vital behaviors of dolphins and whales such as breathing, feeding, mating and communicating,” said the group’s vice president for US Oceans, Jacqueline Savitz.

“This can quickly turn deadly when animals are startled into rushing to the surface or are driven into shallower areas, where they often die as these whales did.”

A spokesman said ExxonMobil said it does not back the panel’s findings.

“ExxonMobil believes the panel’s finding about the multi-beam echo sounder is unjustified due to the lack of certainty of information and observations recorded during the response efforts in 2008.”

The evidence was compiled by the International Whaling Commission, the US Marine Mammal Commission, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, ExxonMobil Exploration and Production (Northern Madagascar) Ltd, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Government of Madagascar.

Colorado Cantaloupe Farmers Arrested In Fatal Listeria Outbreak
DENVER — The owners of a Colorado cantaloupe farm were arrested Thursday on charges stemming from a 2011 listeria epidemic that killed 33 people in one of the nation’s deadliest outbreaks of foodborne illness.

Federal prosecutors said brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen were arrested on misdemeanor charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. Each man faces six counts. They pleaded not guilty in federal court and were released on unsecured bonds. Trial is scheduled for Dec. 2.

Prosecutors said the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined the Jensens didn’t adequately clean the cantaloupe.

Criminal charges in food poisoning cases are rare, said attorney William Marler, who represents many of the listeria victims in civil cases against Jensen Farms. Only four other people have faced such charges in the past decade, he said.

The FDA has said the melons likely were contaminated in Jensen Farms’ packing house. It concluded that dirty water on a floor, and old, hard-to-clean equipment probably were to blame.

The epidemic was the deadliest outbreak of foodborne illness in 25 years, and it delivered a serious blow to Colorado cantaloupe farmers.

A number of lawsuits were filed by people who were sickened or who had a family member die after the outbreak.

Eric Jensen, 37, and Ryan Jensen, 33, could face up to six years in prison and up to $1.5 million in fines each if convicted of all counts against them, prosecutors said.

The Jensens’ farm in southeastern Colorado filed for bankruptcy after the outbreak.

After Thursday’s hearing, the men released a statement calling the outbreak a “terrible accident” and saying they were shocked and saddened by it. The statement said the charges do not imply they knew about the contamination, or that they should have known about it.

Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for federal prosecutors, said the misdemeanor “was the best, most serious charge we could find.”

Felony charges would have required prosecutors to show the contamination was intentional.

“The real significance of the case against the Jensens is they are being charged with misdemeanors, which do not require intent, just the fact that they shipped contaminated food using interstate commerce,” Marler said.

Dorschner said prosecutors decided to pursue the case because so many people were affected.

“It was the magnitude of the number of people who were hospitalized and the number of people who died,” he said. Prosecutors said people in 28 states ate the cantaloupe, and 147 people were hospitalized.

The illnesses quickly were linked to the Jensens’ farm, with the FDA saying on Oct. 19, 2011, that the outbreak probably was caused by pools of water on the floor and old, hard-to-clean packing equipment there. The agency said contamination at the packing facility likely was to blame. Investigators found positive listeria samples on equipment and fruit there.

The FDA said Jensen Farms had recently purchased used equipment that was corroded and hard to clean. The agency said the way the cantaloupes were cooled after coming off the fields might also have contributed to listeria growth.

Asked why it took so long to file charges, Dorschner said officials needed time to develop the case.

The outbreak was a setback for farms in Colorado’s revered Rocky Ford cantaloupe region, where hot, sunny days and cold nights produce fruit known for its distinct sweetness.

Jensen Farms was about 90 miles away from Rocky Ford, but the Jensens used the Rocky Ford name, and sales dropped across the region. Later, Rocky Ford farmers registered Rocky Ford Cantaloupe as a trademark, hired a full-time food safety manager and built a central packing operation where melons are washed and rinsed.

Tammie Palmer, whose husband, Charles, became ill after eating the cantaloupe, said she hopes the Jensens never return to farming.

The Palmers, represented by Marler, filed a lawsuit against Jensen Farms seeking $2 million. The suit was still pending when Charles Palmer died this year of cancer.

“I was hoping everything would be settled and I could do something with my husband, but that’s not going to happen,” she said.

___

Associated Press Writer Kristen Wyatt contributed to this report.

Tourism & Water: Protecting our Common Future
Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future is the theme for this year’s World Tourism Day.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called attention to the day with these remarks:

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“With unsustainable consumption and climate change threatening global water resources, this year’s World Tourism Day highlights the responsibility of the tourism industry to safeguard and intelligently manage water.  In this International Year of Water Cooperation, I urge tourism establishments to cut consumption and improve waste management and I call on individuals to play their part by making environmentally conscious choices when they travel.  By making water saving a priority we can all help to build the future we want.”

Tourism is a large consumer of water and if not done sustainably can be devastating to local communities. Cancun, Mexico, is a good case study in this kind of devastation where the local community no longer has an adequate water supply while the nearby tourism resorts are watering lawns, golf courses, and meeting every tourist need.

On the other hand tourism can be a model for sustainable water management that helps :

improve the experience of the tourist

cost savings

protection of ecosystems and biodiversity

disaster reduction

reducing pollution in the waterways

Improving the tourist experience can happen in several ways. For example, having an adequate water supply during times of drought can make all the difference in the world with regard to enjoyable tourist experiences. In addition, water is needed by the tourism industry to support a number of activities at resorts, like swimming pools, fishing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and sailing. Finally, water brings aesthetics to the tourist experience which is part of the reason tourists choose a resort or destination in the first place.

In Bermuda they have learned the lesson that conserving water is essential during a drought. Water conservation is now mandated after droughts diminished the quality of the tourism experience when there were serious water shortages.

Water conservation can also result in significant cost savings for the tourism industry. Cost savings can be realized in the form of reduced overall water purchase costs, water treatment costs, water storage costs, landscaping costs, and water and sewer costs. The Tradewinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach, Florida, for example, report that they have reduced their water costs. Much of this was accomplished through linen reuse and using reclaimed water for irrigation.

Water conservation also protects ecosystems and biodiversity by providing minimum stream flows necessary for fish and wildlife, wetlands necessary for migratory birds, preservation of plant species, and protection of wildlife habitat. The Walt Disney Company in partnership with the Nature Conservancy created the Disney Wilderness Preserve where they have preserved about 11,500 acres of critical wetlands at the headwaters of the everglades. The preserve provides habitat for 1000 species of plants and animals including some threatened and endangered species. The Disney Wilderness Preserve has become a model for restoring wetlands,as well as, a model for how tourism can contribute to wetland preservation.

Tourism can also benefit with disaster reduction through water conservation. With proper landscaping, storm surge and flooding can be reduced by as much as 50%. Water conservation can also mitigate drought impacts and reduce the strength of hurricanes and tropical storms through wetland protection.

Every tourism resort or destination has a desire to keep its environment pristine and beautiful. Water conservation can reduce pollution in the waterways through landscaping, and water collection systems, that can reduce runoff. Reduced flow in water sewer drainage means less litter, fertilizers, and debris from storms.

There are several steps that the tourism industry can take regarding water. Some of the strategies to get started include:

Set goals for water reduction.

Measure results and showcase to guests.

Measure water use per occupied bed to set benchmarks.

Collect water from roofs for cleaning & landscaping.

Install low flow showerheads and taps.

Acquire water efficient washing machines & dishwashers.

Service water pipes, valves, pump seals, hoses, boilers, and appliances to prevent problems before they occur.

Install data loggers on meters for constant monitoring.

Use storm or grey water for irrigation and landscaping.

Install low flow or composting toilets.

Develop a plan to increase use of recycled or reclaimed water

Tourism can also provide educational messaging to tourists to encourage water conservation such as the message below provided by the Caims Regional Council.

The Walt Disney Company provides an excellent case study of additional examples the tourism industry can learn about water conservation and management.

Walt Disney Company water conservation includes:

Investment in new technologies that improve conservation.

Water management as part of all future planning.

Water conservation in place since 1990 has helped the Walt Disney World Resort maintain its beautiful landscape while minimizing impacts to local water supplies. Water conservation efforts have enabled aquifer net withdrawals to remain at levels similar to those of more than 20 years ago, even though the resort has grown by two theme parks, two water parks, and 20 hotels since then.

Six million gallons of reclaimed water are used daily for landscaping and cooling tower operations.

Recycling of almost all fountains, streams, pools, and ponds.

Water conservation initiatives that have kept net aquifer levels at the same level for 22 years despite the tremendous growth of properties, including hotels, hospitals, shopping areas, and parks.

Approximately 30% of the resorts overall needs and 80% of its irrigation needs are met with reclaimed water.

Walt Disney also uses its media and edutainment expertise to promote water conservation to young people as evidenced in this message below.

Colleges and universities can also play a role in encouraging water conservation and tourism.

At the Patel College of Global Sustainability Dr. Jochen Eckart, Visiting Assistant Professor states:

“In future the growing tourism industry will experience difficulties in efficiently managing scarcer and less reliable water resources while serving more guests – they have to do more with less. The Patel College of Global Sustainability is exploring innovative solutions re-imagining the way water is used (and reused) in order to improve water use efficiency. The tourism industry should consider recent technology advances for the provision of water and sanitation that are extremely effective and efficient, while being simple, low-cost and having limited energy dependence.”

The Patel College team is working to assist cities in developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and around the world to do just that.

Conserving water in the tourism industry is everyones business, the resort, the employees, the guests, and the larger community. In this case, everyone’s business is also good business and protects the valuable assets of nature which is the foundation of much of the tourism in the world.

Happy World Tourism Day! Together we can protect our common future.

Video Above: Patel College of Global Sustainability Students celebrating World Tourism Day with auditor training for the Florida Green Lodging program.

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Dr David W. Randle – Director USF Patel College of Global Sustainability Sustainable Tourism, Managing Director International Ocean Institute Waves of Change Blue Community Initiative, and President & CEO WHALE Center

‘Water’ Photographs By Edward Burtynsky Dive Into The Treatment Of Our Most Precious Resource
It’s easy to forget how beautiful our blue marble can be. But photographer Edward Burtynsky’s aquatic landscapes have given us a new appreciation for the water that surrounds us — both its beauty, and its vulnerability.

From agriculture to aquaculture, water often takes the brunt of human expansion and our demand is severely outpacing supply in many areas. Burtynsky captures the industrialization of the resource in a series of striking photographs, simple titled “Water.”

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Regarding the inspiration behind the project, he writes:

“While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. In this new and powerful role over the planet, we are also capable of engineering our own demise. We have to learn to think more long-term about the consequences of what we are doing, while we are doing it. My hope is that these pictures will stimulate a process of thinking about something essential to our survival; something we often take for granted—until it’s gone.”

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Burtynsky’s work is currently on display in both the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery and the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York City. For now, take a look at more of his photos below.

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Doctors Say Changes In Wheat Do Not Explain Rise Of Celiac Disease
It’s true that about 40 years ago wheat breeders introduced new varieties of wheat that helped farmers increase their grain yields. Those varieties, which came out of the Green Revolution, now make up 90 percent of all the wheat that farmers grow around the world.

But the claim that the more productive wheat is somehow making people sick didn’t sound right to scientists who work with the crop.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
McDonald’s To Offer Salad, Fruit Or Vegetable As Substitute For French Fries
NEW YORK — Want a side salad with that Big Mac?

McDonald’s says it will start giving customers the choice of a salad, fruit or vegetable as a substitute for french fries in its value meals. McDonald’s Corp. will roll out the change early next year in the U.S., where people will be able to pick a salad instead of fries at no extra cost. McDonald’s says it already lets customers make such swaps in some countries, such as France.

But now it says it now work to make the options available in 20 of its biggest markets around the world, which represent 85 percent of sales. McDonald’s, which has more than 34,000 locations around the world, said the change will be in place in 30 to 50 percent of the areas within the next three years and 100 percent the regions by 2020.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain made the announcement at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, where CEO Don Thompson made an appearance on stage with former President Bill Clinton.

In an interview before the announcement, Thompson said McDonald’s is looking at developing other healthy sides that will appeal to customers. He noted that the company could also take the fruits and vegetables it offers in other parts of the world, such as cups of corn and kiwi on a stick, and make them more widely available.

“What is it that customers will choose, and what will they eat?” Thompson said. “What we don’t want to do is just put something on the menu and say, hey, we did it. We really want consumption.”

McDonald’s also announced that it would use its packaging to make healthier options more appealing to kids. For example, a side of carrots might come in a more colorfully designed bag. Parents will still be able to order soda with Happy Meals, but McDonald’s says it will only promote milk, juice and water on menu boards and in advertising. All advertising to kids will include a “fun nutrition or children’s well-being” message, the company said.

Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the health advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, said taking soda off the menu as an option for Happy Meals was a big step that other fast-food chains should follow. But she said the push to include positive nutrition messages in ads to kids could serve to give McDonald’s a “health halo” that it doesn’t necessarily deserve.

“The changes McDonald’s are making make the food somewhat healthier. But I don’t think a hamburger, some applies and fries is something I’d call healthy,” she said.

The announcement comes as McDonald’s faces criticism from health advocates who say it promotes bad eating habits. After years of outperforming its rivals, McDonald’s is also struggling to shake its fast-food image and keep up with shifting tastes. Late last year, the company reported its first monthly sales decline in nearly a decade and sales performance around the world has been choppy ever since.

To better reflect the way people are eating, McDonald’s recently started giving customers the choice to substitute egg whites in all its breakfast sandwiches. It also rolled out chicken wraps, which are partly intended to go after people who want foods they feel are fresher or healthier. Earlier in the week, rival Burger King rolled out lower-calorie french fries, reflecting the growing demand for better-for-you options.

McDonald’s marketing to children is also an ongoing issue. A recent study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, for example, found that the chain’s ads targeting children often emphasize toy giveaways and movie tie-ins, rather than food. And at its latest annual shareholders meeting, a 9-year-old girl made headlines after she stood to ask Thompson to stop “tricking” kids into eating the company’s food.

The girl was with her mother, who was affiliated with Corporate Accountability, which has pressured McDonald’s to changes its marketing practices to kids.

The criticism is clearly a sensitive topic for Thompson, who noted that the Alliance for a Healthier Generation was among the first organizations that approached the company to use its “marketing might” to help kids. The group, which is working with McDonald’s on its new health goals, was founded by the Clinton Global Initiative and the American Heart Association.

“Others have said, `McDonald’s, don’t advertise to kids,'” Thompson said. “We’ve always felt like, wow, if we had the impact that you think we have, why don’t we leverage it to do something great for kids?”

Howell Wechsler, CEO of Alliance for a Healthier Generation, said the commitments made by McDonald’s were worked out over the course of more than a year. He said the final agreement could help change the way people eat over time, given McDonald’s enormous reach.

____

Follow Candice Choi at http://www.twitter.com/candicechoi

Mindful Leadership Is Fearless Leadership
Ever think about how your downtime impacts your productivity and success? In today’s busy world, it’s not always easy to disconnect and really relax and refresh your thinking, your body, your emotions. To be a fearless leader, you need to be able to rise above your fear-based gut reactions and strengthen your personal resilience and emotional reserves. Mindfulness is a set of practices that focuses your activity and energy on your higher objectives and state of being, rather than so much day to day “doing” and busyness. While it takes time to cultivate mindfulness, it can be improved in just a few short minutes each day.

At Transcend, we work to create breaks in our work, and share these ideas with clients to help them access their best thinking. Too often, time away from the action of work can feel like we are simply allowing our inbox to fill up in our absence, and we dread coming back to a backlog of reading, responding, writing, meeting and generally getting caught up on all that didn’t get done while we were away or taking a break.

There is ample research to show that real vacation time helps overall productivity, and mindfulness habits help create that “vacation” feeling every day. Here are a few of our favorite practices (many clients resist these at first, and then embrace them as they see these simple strategies at work):

Mindful Leadership Strategies that Work:

Journal

Journalling is the act of writing down what is in your head. For some, this is a natural way of expressing feelings, capturing thoughts and observations or capturing ideas and snippets of conversation to use later. If you’ve never been one to write things down, here’s the simplest version of our journalling exercise:

First thing in the morning, write three specific things for which you are grateful

Before going to bed, write three specific achievements of the day

Write down thoughts and emotions when you feel particularly upset or stressed (get it out of your head!)

You can write anything you want, and you may find it addictive once you get started. The three things can be small and personally meaningful, or major accomplishments — as long as they are relevant to the day at hand. This small period of focus on what is going well, and how you are winning personal victories each day, shifts your mindset to appreciate the positive and worry a little less each day. Getting emotions and thoughts out on paper helps you let go of thinking about them and lets you move past your emotional reaction and take productive and proactive action. It’s the worry that eats away your mental energy and erodes your leadership — a few minutes of writing can help you build leadership reserves. Fearless leaders reflect.

Meditate

Once a practice of Eastern mystics and new-age groups, meditation has gone mainstream with CEOs and leaders from Bill Ford (Ford Motor Co.) and Rupert Murdoch (News Corp) touting the benefits of meditation. With as little as 10 minutes of meditation, you can make better decisions, focus more clearly, decrease your anxiety, grow brain power and boost your creativity and compassion. Our clients who take up 10 minutes of meditation say they sleep better, worry less and feel calmer at work and at home. So, what’s not to like? Here’s how you can get started:

Find a quiet place and sit comfortably

Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, slowing down your breath, relaxing your muscles

Visualize a calm and happy place and bring your mind back to this place when it starts to wander

There are some great apps that help get your meditation practice started if it feels a bit new and unfamiliar. Some of the ones we like include: Headspace (free Take 10 program), Pranayama (timer to focus your breathing) or Meditations (guided meditations). Meditation loosens the neural connection to your fear response and strengthens the connection to your reasoning, allowing you to assess your responses better and manage your own emotions and stress. Fearless leaders manage their own stress and mental capacity.

Exercise

It seems obvious. Start treating daily exercise like it’s your job. It is. To be productive at work, you need to exercise daily just as much as you need to get good sleep (more about that in a minute) and eat properly. Every day you don’t get exercise, you are withdrawing from your physical reserves and will need to replenish them, like a good clean diet after a week of takeout food. Not only does good exercise help keep your muscles and joints in good working order, exercise releases endorphins that stabilize your mood and helps burn off stress chemicals (since your stress wasn’t about physically fighting or running away from anyone, now was it?). While our lifestyle has changed dramatically, our biology has not, and you were built to move. So, schedule this important daily meeting with your body and get ready to be more productive as a result. Your leadership is built one habit at a time, so make this a linchpin habit. Fearless leaders maintain their physical bodies to support themselves.

Take Breaks

Your mind works best in 90-minute intervals. f you have serious brainwork to do (a proposal to write, a report to produce, an idea to generate, etc), schedule 90 minutes of uninterrupted time to do that work, and then get up, move around, take a walk, stretch and do something else. Come back to the task after you’ve had the chance to clear your mind and get a real break. When we do offsite events, we try to schedule a 15-minute break every 90 minutes. This isn’t random, we know that our groups get restless and lose creativity and focus after 90 minutes. Continuing on is counter-productive. A good break gets the result faster. Research on unconscious thought theory shows that taking a break and distracting the mind can lead to better decision-making. Fearless leaders know when to call a time-out.

Sleep More

How many hours of sleep are you getting? Do you brag about getting less than you actually do? A recent study done with basketball players improved their free-throw and 3-point shooting by 9% just by committing to 10 hours of sleep a night. Getting less than six hours of sleep per night is the best predictor of burnout, and even short naps have been show to improve concentration, memory and reaction times. Some offices have created rooms for naps or meditation during the day — because it has been shown to boost productivity and results. Take a look at your own sleep habits and commit to making changes that let you get better sleep and at least 7-8 hours each night. You may need even more. Having trouble sleeping? Most of these other Mindful Leadership Strategies will help in this area, too. Fearless leaders know the value of sleep.

Turn off

Feeling harassed by your iPhone, Blackberry or email? You are not alone. The incessant beeping, pinging and notifying of our connected lives is a stressor in and of itself. The higher that baseline stress level, the harder it is to lead fearlessly in those very situations when we need a calm head and an open heart. So, keep your everyday electronic stress manageable. If you can, set hours when you will be connected. Check your email three specific times per day and then close your email application. Set your phone or tablet not to make noise when you receive email. If that seems too extreme for your work environment, then create “free zones” in your calendar when you will be disconnected, and a backup for true emergencies. Most of your notifications are not so time-sensitive they can’t wait an hour or three. As long as someone can reach you when it’s really that urgent, turn it all off and focus on important strategies, tasks and relationships during your “free zones.”

This is particularly important when you are resting, meditating, journalling, etc. Give your mind time to quiet itself, and focus on the single activity in front of you. You might be surprised at how much this single action improves the quality of your thinking and your connections to others as you become truly present in each moment and stop getting distracted. Fearless leaders focus on the moment at hand.

Longer Vacations

Perhaps the hardest strategy to implement for many of our clients is taking vacation time and really using it to refresh and rejuvenate. In 2006, Ernst & Young did an internal study and found that for every 10 hours of additional vacation an employee took, their performance rating went up 8%. Employees who took more vacation were also less likely to leave the firm. If you leave vacation days on the table, you are sacrificing opportunities to look outside your daily work and competitive environment and bring in new ideas from tangential fields, connections to other relationships or networks and time for new ideas to percolate up while you are honing your wind-surfing skills, making plans with a loved one, or listening to the life story of a distant relative.

One client is planning to take all of her vacation this year, including a couple of week-long trips just after big deadlines in her field, and some Fridays off during her busiest season to decompress and take care of needs outside the office. We regularly plan out longer vacations through the year at Transcend, and long weekends at regular intervals to recharge our batteries, stretch our legs, see new sights and ponder entirely different questions than those that arise at work. We always come back with new ideas and fresh energy for our clients and projects. Fearless leaders take the time to recharge and gather ideas from all their experiences.

First Steps

Feeling overwhelmed looking at this list? You are not alone. So start with one thing. Look at the list and pick one item that feels interesting and helpful to you. Commit to one action you can take today, and keep it up for at least three weeks. Then decide what the impact has been and decide to commit going forward. It takes between 3 and 12 weeks to really consolidate a new habit. Once you have one in place, look at the list again and pick another strategy and commit to a new habit. Pretty soon, you’ll have a whole new perspective on leadership.

Fearless leaders are always learning. What will you learn today?

Good News – The Huffington Post
‘Cookie Box Donor’ Identified: Portland Radio Station 98.7 The Bull Hides $100 BIlls In Cash Cow Giveaway (VIDEO)
The mysterious Good Samaritans who left $100 bills in boxes of Walmart cookies have been identified.

The team behind Portland’s 98.7 The Bull radio station came forward and said that they’ve been planting the bills in conjunction with their Cash Cow giveaway, KPTV reports.

In addition to giving away $1,000 to call-in winners multiple times a day, the crew has been hiding cash in local groceries and retail stores where folks who could use a break might find them.

“It’s a secret how much we’re putting out each day and where, but we wanted to make it accessible to everyone and give everyone a chance to have just one more reason to smile,” the program’s assistant director B-Dub told ABC.

Their scheme first began making headlines after a Salem man discovered two $100 bills in packages of snickerdoodles he purchased from Walmart last Saturday. Reports of several other findings surfaced this week until The Bull’s team stepped up to claim responsibility.

The station plans to give away $20,000 or more over the next 6 weeks.

“We’re not taking credit for every hundred dollar bill that was hidden because people have been paying it forward,” B-Dub told ABC. “We’re doing this to pay it forward and do some good.”

Zac Vawter, Seattle Man, Fitted With The World’s First Thought-Controlled ‘Bionic’ Leg
It’s being heralded as a “groundbreaking” medical development, but for 32-year-old Seattle man Zac Vawter, his thought-controlled prosthetic leg is a lot more personal than that.

“It’s exciting,” Vawter told CBS Chicago while showing off his “bionic” leg at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) this week. “It’s neat. It’s intuitive. It puts energy into me walking and moving around.”

The RIC’s device, which has been in the works for four years at the center as part of a massive research project, was heralded as the first of its kind in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday.

Vawter, who lost his right leg from the knee down in a motorcycle crash in 2009, showed off an earlier prototype of the limb last November, when he climbed the 103 floors of Chicago’s Willis Tower and became the first person ever to do so using a mind-controlled prosthetic limb.

(Scroll down to take a look at Vawter’s “bionic” leg in action last fall.)

Since then, the leg’s software has been improved significantly, allowing him to have complete independence and a “seamless” range of motion beyond just walking and stair climbing, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Developing a thought-controlled bionic leg is more difficult than a similar arm because the motors need to be powerful enough — but still relatively small — to give someone the energy to stand and move along, the study’s lead research, Levi Hargrove of the RIC, told NBC News. Ultimately, the stakes are much higher for a leg than an arm.

“If there is a mistake or error that could cause someone to fall, that could be potentially catastrophic, and we want to avoid that at all costs,” Hargrove continued.

How it works is that two nerves inside Vawter’s leg have been wired to his hamstring muscles — and when those nerves communicate with sensors inside the prosthetic limb’s socket, that message is passed along to an onboard computer. The computer then tells the knee to either bend or straighten.

Vawter will need to swap out the leg for a regular, mechanical prosthetic when he returns home to his wife and two children because the prototype still has a ways to go.

“We need to make rock solid devices, more than a research prototype,” Hargrove told the Associated Press last November.

The leg’s development has been supported by an $8 million grant from the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center and it’s believed that, with some additional tweaking, the device could be available for the estimated 1 million Americans with leg amputations — such as wounded soldiers and the elderly — within the next three to five years, according to Bloomberg.

As the AP previously noted, Vanderbilt University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Rhode Island and the University of New Brunswick are also involved in the $8 million project.

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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