Solomon Burke remembered

12 10 2010

Posted: Oct 11, 2010 at 11:09 AM [Today]

Burke_SolomonSolomon Burke

Solomon Burke should have been a bigger star.

The soul singer — who made some fantastic records in the 1960s, with a powerful voice, a crack band and great songs — has died at age 70. “King Sol” continued to actively record and tour in recent years.

Good basic obituaries have been produced by the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. Meanwhile, Rolling Stone revived a profile of the singer and also lists 15 of his best songs.

Here’s a latter-day performance of one of his signature songs, “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”: (If you’re not familiar with Burke but recognize this song, it was used in the movie “The Blues Brothers.”)


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#weedcommandments – Top of the Twitter bill!

12 10 2010

this is one of the most highly searched sites so far! check it out.. tweets from a smoker..:)

Countdown to Mine Rescue: Chile Miners Prepare to Be Lifted Into Sunlight

12 10 2010

Rescues Now Expected to Begin at Midnight Tuesday and Could Take Just 12 Hours

15 comments By JEFFREY KOFMAN
Oct. 11, 2010

The steel capsule designed to rescue 33 men deep in a Chilean mine was tested today, and it went so well that engineers said the capsule would be sent back into the earth to make its first rescue at midnight Tuesday and perhaps even earlier.

A source close to the rescue told ABC News that the men could be out in just 12 hours once the operation gets underway.

The miners’ families are counting the final hours. Liliana Ramirez, the wife of Mario Gomez, the oldest miner, said that she is anxious, but happy too. She said that she is “happy that this nightmare is coming to an end.”

The men, excited to see their loved ones, want to look their best. They’ve asked for shampoo and shoe polish. The men who have endured misery few can imagine want to look presentable to their families after waiting so long see them and wondering if they would ever see them again.

As the miners and their families count down the hours, every hour now brings news, but none more important than the word that test of the capsule went without a hitch.

Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said, “This test has been very successful…we are pretty sure that the cage will behave properly as it has been designed during the rescue process. We already saw that there was no movement inside the cage.”

When The Rescue Begins
The capsule leaves nothing to chance. A man riding inside will wear an oxygen mask, his heartbeat and body temperature will be monitored, and he will wear a telephone headset to talk with the rescue team above.

Every second of the miners’ ascent will be monitored by video camera. They will be pulled up one by one for the 2,000-foo ride that is expected to take just 15 minutes.


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Microsoft Calling With New Windows Phone 7

12 10 2010

Microsoft Calling With New Windows Phone 7
7:05pm UK, Monday October 11, 2010

Gary Mitchell, Sky News Online

Microsoft has unveiled a new line of smartphones it hopes will lure gadget fans away from Apple’s iPhone and other rivals.

The new operating system will be offered on HTC handsets among others
The company launched the Windows Phone 7 operating system at an event today in London.
The first phones will hit stores this month.
Touchscreen handsets have been designed by the likes of Samsung, LG and HTC and will include a five-megapixel camera and a “tile” display for easy access to web and other applications.
But some analysts are dubious about Microsoft’s chances of making headway in the competitive smartphone market, where it has just a 5% share.
The company has struggled to find a footing in an area dominated by the Symbian operating system – run on Nokia phones – followed by RIM, who make the BlackBerry, then Google’s Android and Apple.

Microsoft will face tough competition from the likes of Apple’s iPhone 4
James Atkinson, editor of Mobile Magazine, told Sky News Online: “From what I’ve heard so far it’s going to be a big improvement on what they’ve done with phones before.
“The idea of the tiles sounds quite good.
“But I don’t think they’re going to be overtaking anyone – Microsoft is playing catch-up with other companies like Apple rather than innovating, and Apple have fans who will stay Apple fans no matter what.”
According to reports, there will be 2,000 applications initially available for download for the Windows Phone 7.
Actor and self-confessed technology addict Stephen Fry said he welcomed the phone.
“I am genuinely thrilled. I never thought this day would come to stand on this stage and praise Microsoft for doing somthing they can be proud of,” he said.
“I have felt enormous pleasure using this phone”


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First human injected in human embryonic stem cell trial

12 10 2010

First human injected in human embryonic stem cell trial

After years of animal trials, the first human has been injected with cells from human embryonic stem cells, according to Geron Corporation, the company which is sponsoring the controversial study.

“This is the first human embryonic stem cell trial in the world,” Geron CEO Dr. Thomas Okarma tells CNN.

Geron is releasing very few details about the patient, but will say that the first person to receive cells derived from human embryonic stem cells was enrolled in the FDA-approved clinical trial at the Shepherd Center, a spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. This person was injected with the cells on Friday.

The FDA first approved this clinical trial in January 2009, but later required further research before the study could proceed. The FDA gave final approval in July of this year. This allowed the company to begin searching for the first patients who might qualify for this phase 1 clinical trial, which means scientists are trying to determine the safety of introducing these cells into a human.

To be eligible, patients have to have suffered what’s called a complete thoracic spinal cord injury, which means no movement below the chest. While patients can still move their arms and breathe on their own, they are complete paraplegics; they have no bowel or bladder control and can’t move their legs, Okarma explains.

The injury to the spinal cord would have to have occurred between the third and tenth thoracic vertebrae and the patient has to be injected with the stem cell therapy, called GRNOPC1, within seven to 14 days after the injury. “At the time of the injection, they [the cells] are programmed to make a new spinal cord – they insulate the damage [to the spinal cord],” says Okarma. The cells work just like they would if they were in the womb and building a spine in a fetus, Okarma explains.

Embryonic stem cells are only four to five days old and have the ability to turn into any cell in the body. But the cells that the patient receives aren’t pure human embryonic stem cells anymore. The cells in the GRNOPC1 therapy have been coaxed into becoming early myelinated glial cells, a type of cell that insulates nerve cells.

“For every cell we inject, they become six to 10 cells in a few months,” says Okarma. These cells can still divide some but will not become any type of cell other than glial cells, he explains.

The Geron CEO likens what these cells are doing to repairing a large electrical cable. If the outer layer is damaged and the wire is exposed, it causes a short-circuit and the cable doesn’t work anymore. In the case of a spinal cord injury, these new stem-cell derived glial cells creep in between all the fibers and rewrap the nerve with myelin, which is like patching the cable. The goal is to permanently repair the damage that caused the paralysis from the spinal cord injury.

“We’re not treating symptoms here – we’re permanently regenerating tissue,” says Okarma.

He adds that the goal of this stem cell therapy is to shift the outcome for someone who has just suffered a serious spinal cord injury, and go from a place where there’s no hope for improvement to a situation where they can respond to physical therapy. “If we could do that, this would be a spectacular result,” Okarma says.

The purpose of the clinical trial at this stage is to determine safety – to determine that there are no bad side effects or rejection caused by the therapy. Only eight to 10 patients are approved to be in the safety phase of this clinical trial, and patients with new spinal cord injuries are expected to be enrolled at about seven sites in the United States. Besides the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, also is recruiting patients.

The cells that are being injected into the patients are a product derived from stem cells that were harvested from leftover embryos from fertility clinics. Because this process destroys the embryo, this type of research has been very controversial. Consequently federal funding of this type of research has been equally controversial. However, Okarma has previously told CNN that “zero federal funds” were used for their human embryonic stem cell product.

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Facebook unveils ‘groups’ feature and user controls

11 10 2010

6 October 2010 Last updated at 23:06

Facebook unveils ‘groups’ feature and user controls

There are yet more new features being added to the updated Facebook

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

There are yet more new features being added to the updated Facebook
Continue reading the main story
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Facebook has introduced a raft of features aimed at giving users more control over their personal data.

A groups feature will allow users to specify circles of friends with whom they want to share different data.

For the first time, users will also be able to download all the data they have uploaded onto the site.

They will also find it easier to see how individual applications are using personal information, Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said.

“The changes today are about giving people more control over how they share in a lot of different contexts,” Mr Zuckerberg told BBC News.

“One of the things we have heard is that people just want to share information with smaller groups of people.

“It will enable people to share things that they wouldn’t have wanted to share with all of their friends.”

He added: “There are some things you are comfortable saying to all your friends at once but a lot of things you only want to share with your close co-workers or your family and there just hasn’t been a great way to do that until now.”

Behaviour change
The groups feature will allow users form online havens around a discreet circle of people just as they do in the real world.

Members will then be able to share information with people specific to that group.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

All the information that is on Facebook comes from people sharing it. It is not our information, it’s the people’s”

Mark Zuckerberg
Chief executive of Facebook
A list feature on Facebook already lets users create subsets of their friends but Mr Zuckerberg said that only about 5% of its 500 million users use it.

“Groups will change behaviour,” Augie Ray a senior analyst with research firm Forrester told BBC News.

“It’s possible that people will join Facebook because they will feel they can control who sees their information. I am a very open person and blast everything I say on Twitter or Facebook but now something like this will allow people to think more deeply about who will see what they say, and will increase engagement.”

Another analyst Ray Valdes of Gartner called groups “a major milestone in a very long road that represents part of the ongoing evolution of our social connections”.

‘False security’
Facebook said its engineers had been in lockdown for the past 60 days working on these new products.

One of the new tools called “Download Your Information” is designed to enable users to download everything they have ever posted to the site, such as photos, status updates and wall posts.

The tool is a major departure for Facebook, which has come under criticism in the past for not allowing users access to their own data.

This effectively locked Facebook users into the site, unable to port their data to other sites.

Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s latest features at the company’s California headquarters
“All the information that is on Facebook comes from people sharing it,” said Mr Zuckerberg.

Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s latest features at the company’s California headquarters

“It is not our information. It is people’s information. We just have this strong philosophical belief that people own that information and they should be able set exactly who can see it, move it to different applications and use it how they want. They should be able to take it away if they want.”

The groups feature is the one the company touted most heavily and one that Mr Zuckerberg seemed most proud of.

“We think that what we have out of the box, version one, blows away everything else,” he said, referring to “groups” services offered by internet stalwarts such as Yahoo! and Google.

Privacy has been a constant thorn for the world’s biggest social network whenever it introduces new products or changes settings on the site.

“Mostly I am happy they are giving users more control and I think the groups aspect for the most part does give you this added control,” said Larry Magid, co-director of

Phone sync worries
“The only worry I have is that friends can add people to the group, so if you create a group and are in a group you have to be aware of not only who you add but who others add.

“As long as you are aware of who is in the group it can be a great privacy tool. If it gets out of hand it could give you a sense of false security.”

There has been concern over syncing phone contacts with Facebook

There has been concern over syncing phone contacts with Facebook
The roll out of new products comes amid reports that a syncing feature on the iPhone lets Facebook access contact data and share it on the site.

“It’s very possible that your private phone numbers – and those of lots of your and their friends – are on the site,” said Charles Arthur of the Guardian newspaper.

Another tech blogger, Kurt van Moos, who was the first to warn about this feature in January, outlined his concerns.

“Phone numbers are private and valuable. Most people who have entrusted you with their phone numbers assume you will keep them private and safe,” he said.

In a statement to the BBC, Facebook confirmed that the site allowed them to sync their friends’ contact information.

“The ability to sync their contacts is used for the purpose of connecting [users] with their friends,” it said.

“All of this information is private and is not shared with any friends or any third party.

“Even if someone wanted to, they could not share any of this information with other friends, for example.”

Facebook added that users could easily delete contacts copied over from their phones.

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