Audio Fest NOW and Best Buy!

~Written in a partnership with Best Buy and their Audio Fest. All opinions are my own.Did you know Audio Fest is happening right now at Best Buy stores across the country? It goes from March 2nd to April 4th, 2014, and is filled with specials, deals, and events for all things audio–making Best Buy the place to be! I just went this weekend We’re big music fans and especially since having kids because there’s nothing better to cure a bad day or a sad mood than a DANCE PARTY!Maybe you h ave a home entertainment area? Ours is in our basement and our 4-year-old calls it the movie theater. It makes family movie nights extra special! Best Buy can enhance your experience and upgrade your …

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Previous rapid thinning of Pine Island Glacier sheds light on future Antarctic ice loss

New research, published this week in Science, suggests that the largest single contributor to global sea level rise, a glacier of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, may continue thinning for decades to come. Geologists from the UK, USA and Germany found that Pine Island Glacier (PIG), which is rapidly accelerating, thinning and retreating, has thinned rapidly before. The team say their findings demonstrate the potential for current ice loss to continue for several decades yet.Their findings reveal that 8000 years ago the glacier thinned as fast as it has in recent decades, providing an important model for its future behaviour. The glacier is currently experiencing significant acceleration, thinning and retreat that is thought to be caused by ‘ocean-driven’ melting; an increase in warm ocean water finding its way under the ice shelf.After two decades of rapid ice loss, concerns are arising over how much more ice will be lost to the ocean in the future. Model projections of the future of PIG contain large uncertainties, leaving questions about the rate, timing and persistence of future sea level rise. Rocks exposed by retreating or thinning glaciers provide evidence of past ice sheet change, which helps scientists to predict possible future change. The geologists used highly sensitive dating techniques, pioneered by one of the team, to track the thinning of PIG through time, and to show that the past thinning lasted for several decades.Lead author Joanne Johnson from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said: “Our geological data show us the history of Pine Island Glacier in greater detail than ever before. The fact that it thinned so rapidly in the past demonstrates how sensitive it is to environmental change; small changes can produce dramatic and long-lasting results. Based on what we know, we can expect the rapid ice loss to continue for a long time yet, especially if ocean-driven melting of the ice shelf in front of Pine Island Glacier continues at current rates,”Professor Mike Bentley, a co-leader of the project based at Durham University said: “This paper is part of a wide range of international scientific efforts to understand the behaviour of this important glacier. The results we’re publishing are the product of long days spent sampling rocks from mountains in Antarctica, coupled to some exceptionally precise and time-consuming laboratory analyses. …

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Breast cancer drug found in bodybuilding supplement

In a letter to The BMJ this week, researchers explain that, for more than 30 years, bodybuilders have taken tamoxifen to prevent and treat gynaecomastia (breast swelling) caused by use of anabolic steroids.Usually, tamoxifen is sourced from the illicit market, they say. However, bodybuilding discussion forums have speculated that a dietary supplement called Esto Suppress contains tamoxifen because the label listed one of its chemical names.The researchers purchased four samples at different times between late 2011 and early 2012 and analysed their contents. Tamoxifen was found in three out of the four samples at different concentrations (3.8 mg, 0.9 mg and 3 mg).The product label suggested a dosage of two capsules a day, which in the case of sample 1 may have provided 7.6 mg of tamoxifen (10-20 mg is used clinically for treating gynaecomastia).It is not known whether the Esto Suppress currently being sold still contains tamoxifen, but since the 2000s a growing number of off-the-shelf “food,” “herbal,” or “dietary” “supplements” — aimed at gym goers and people wanting to lose weight or enhance their sex lives — have contained pharmacologically active substances, explain the authors.These include anabolic steroids, erectogenics (to stimulate erections), stimulants, appetite suppressants, and anxiolytics (to treat anxiety).Often the substances are not listed on the labelling, and products may be marketed as “natural,” exploiting the belief that they are safer and healthier options, they add. In other cases, such as with Esto Suppress, only an obscure reference is made to the substance, such as a chemical name.They warn that most users “will be unaware that they are taking these substances” and urge healthcare professionals to ask their patients about their use of “supplements” and report suspected adverse reactions.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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What Happens if You’re Injured by a Dangerous Product?

Whether it’s a laptop with an overheated battery, a car with airbags that fail to deploy, or prescription medication that leads to serious side effects, consumers are constantly using a variety of products that can and do lead to injuries, harm, and even death.When someone suffers an injury as the result of using a product, they often wonder if they can sue to recover damages. These types of cases are known as product liability cases. In order to prevail in such a case, consumers usually have to show that the product manufacturer is negligent.Liability and NegligenceNot every injury you suffer as the result of using a product means that you will be able to recover damages for your injuries. In order to win your case, you will have to be able to show that the product’s manufacturer was negligent in some way. When a product manufacturer releases a product into the marketplace, it must be sure that the product is safe. If the manufacturer makes a mistake and releases a product that poses a danger to the consumer, it can be held liable for any harm caused by the product.In product liability cases, the person suing the manufacturer, called the plaintiff, typically has to show one of three things:The manufacturer made a defective product. Many product injury cases arise because a manufacturer doesn’t build a product correctly. For example, a chair missing an important screw or a piece of exercise equipment that isn’t assembled correctly can easily lead to someone getting hurt. In such a situation, the manufacturer is often held liable for those injuries because they manufactured a product with a defect and then sent it into the marketplace. The manufacturer designed a dangerous product. …

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Natural remedies for kids: Zarbee’s (coupon)

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Zarbee’s Naturals (#ZarbeesCough). I received product samples and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.Did you know that about 10,000 kids every year are sent to the emergency room from accidental cough syrup overdoses? In 2007 the FDA stated these products were not safe for young children and many were then removed from store shelves or were labeled for ages 4 and up. So when you have little ones that need relief, where do you find it? It is miserable to see your babies not feeling well and being unable to help.natural remediesDr. Zarbock felt the same way for his 4 sons. He needed a solution and discovered a clinical trial that showed dark …

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Clearer labels needed on drugs containing animal products

Dr Kinesh Patel and Dr Kate Tatham say most medications prescribed in primary care contain animal derived products and it is unclear whether they are suitable for vegetarians.They call for improved labeling, similar to those on food, to help inform doctors, pharmacists and patients about the content of medicines. And they stress that concerned patients should not stop taking their medication without consulting their doctor first.Specific dietary preferences regarding animal products in food are common in the general population. Influences such as religion, culture, economic status, environmental concern, food intolerances, and personal preferences all play a part in the foods that people choose to consume.Yet many patients and doctors are unaware that commonly prescribed drugs contain animal products — and simply reading the list of ingredients will not make it clear whether the product meets the patient’s dietary preferences.Problem ingredients include lactose (often extracted using bovine rennet), gelatine (sourced from cows, pigs and occasionally fish) and magnesium stearate (traditionally sourced from cows, pigs and sheep) although some manufacturers now use vegetarian alternatives.Last year a campaign to vaccinate children in Scotland against influenza was halted because of concern in the Muslim community about pork gelatine within the vaccine.Even though the absolute levels of animal products in many medications are likely to be minimal, the authors say doctors need to consider this when prescribing “to avoid non-adherence, which is a major healthcare concern.”To ascertain the scale of the problem, they identified the 100 most commonly prescribed drugs in UK primary care in January 2013. Of these, 73 contained one or more of lactose, gelatine, or magnesium stearate. But they found that information on the origins of the contents was difficult to obtain, unclear, inconsistently reported, and sometimes incorrect.”Our data suggest that it is likely that patients are unwittingly ingesting medications containing animal products with neither prescriber nor dispenser aware,” they write.They call for improved drug labeling, mirroring those standards advised for food. However, they acknowledge it is unlikely that any labeling standard could address all dietary requirements, “and the ultimate solution would be to eliminate animal derived products where possible from medications.”They point out that lactose is already produced by some manufacturers without using rennet, magnesium stearate can be made chemically without animal ingredients and vegetarian capsules to replace gelatine are already available.”Although vegetarian friendly ingredients may be more expensive than those produced by traditional processes, the costs would diminish as production expanded and they would limit the exposure of patients to products they find unacceptable,” they conclude.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Canvas prints of the kids for our new office

Canvas prints of the kids for our new office Emily Dickey posted this in ReviewsI love taking photos of the kids and we have professional family photos taken at least once a year. I upload them to my computer and most of the time that’s where they sit. If I’m on top of things (I’m not.) they get uploaded to Facebook for friends and family to see or I use some in a blog post… but I want them printed and displayed in our home!I love canvas prints because they add a special touch to your photo wall—something different to stand out from printed photos. And the bigger, the better! Last summer we had photos of the kids taken and they’re my favorite! I’ve used…

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Curious Critters Volume Two by David FitzSimmons

Product was received to facilitate this review of Curious Critters. All opinions are my own.A couple of years ago we received the book Curious Critters by David FitzSimmons. Ryan was young and we were still reading basic board books, but this book quickly became a favorite. It was a must-read every day—or, really, like 12 times a day, haha. He was fascinated by the large and bright photographs, the interesting animals, and learning all of their names.Curious Critters by David FitzSimmonsI was thrilled to hear that a second edition was coming out: Curious Critters Volume Two! Of course we HAD to have it! Check out their website to see the books and sample pages. It also has lots of fun stuff: coloring pages and word …

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New study finds spike in sugary drink consumption among California adolescents

Oct. 18, 2013 — While consumption of soda and other sugary drinks among young children in California is starting to decline, a new study released today shows an alarming 8 percent spike among adolescents, the biggest consumers of these beverages.Based on interviews with more than 40,000 California households conducted by the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the study, “Still Bubbling Over: California Adolescents Drinking More Soda and Other Sugar-Sweetened Beverages,” provides a comprehensive look at youth (2- to 17-year-olds) consumption of sugary drinks, charting consumption patterns from 2005-07 to 2011-12.The study, which also provides county-by-county youth consumption rates, was produced collaboratively by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.The most encouraging finding was the dramatic drop in the proportion of young children drinking sugary beverages daily over the seven-year period. Only 19 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds drink a sugary beverage daily, a 30 percent decline from the 2005-07 reporting period. Among 6- to 11-year-olds, 32 percent were daily consumers in 2011-12, representing a 26 percent drop since 2005-07.Of greatest concern, however, is the significant rise among the biggest consumers of sugary drinks — adolescents (12- to 17-year-olds). Today, a full 65 percent of California adolescents drink sugary beverages daily, an 8 percent climb since 2005-07. And while the study’s authors point out that roughly the same proportion of these youth are drinking soda, 23 percent more are consuming energy and sports drinks every day.”California has made real progress in reducing the consumption of sugary beverages among young children,” said Dr. Susan Babey, the report’s lead author. “But teens are in trouble. Soda or sports drinks should be an occasional treat, not a daily habit. If this trend isn’t reversed, there may be costly consequences for teens, their families and the health care system in the form of increased obesity and diabetes.”Although the study does not directly examine the causes for the sugary spike among teens, Dr. …

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How do consumers compare prices? It depends on how powerful they feel

Sep. 10, 2013 — Your reaction to the price on a bottle of wine or another product is partly a response to how powerful you feel, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.”The degree to which one feels powerful influences which type of price comparison threatens their sense of self-importance and, in turn, affects the perception of price unfairness,” write authors Liyin Jin, Yanqun He (both Fudan University), and Ying Zhang (University of Texas, Austin).Variations in price are common in today’s market, the authors explain, but companies risk consumers’ wrath when those customers perceive unfairness. According to the authors, consumers have two main ways of evaluating the fairness of a price: they compare with what they’ve paid for the same item in the past (self-comparison) or they ask how the price compares with what other customers are paying (other-comparison). The authors looked at the ways consumers’ self-perceptions affected their reactions to the two kinds of comparisons.In one study, the authors found that participants who felt powerful experienced more unfairness when it appeared that they were paying more than others. But people who did not feel powerful experienced more unfairness when they used self-comparisons. The study also revealed that “high-power” participants were more likely to get angry about unfairness and indicated they were more likely to complain about the perceived unfairness. Meanwhile the “low-power” individuals were more likely to feel sad and to use tactics to avoid thinking about the unfair price.”Our findings suggest important ways that marketing professionals can engage customers of different power statuses,” the authors write. “For example, when marketing to high-power customers, one can better elicit preference by highlighting the special treatment that they are receiving in relation to other customers. Conversely, when the target customers are relatively low in power, loyalty may be better cultivated by highlighting the consistency in service or the level of commitment to these customers.”

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Argan powder found in some cosmetics linked with occupational asthma

Sep. 9, 2013 — Argan powder, which is used by the cosmetic industry in the production of foundation products, could be linked with occupational asthma.Share This:A small study, presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Annual Congress in Barcelona on 9 September 2013, has found the first evidence of a risk associated with the use of argan powder during the industrial production of cosmetics.A sample of nine patients from a cosmetic factory in France were analysed in the study. All participants were exposed to the product in three different forms: crude granules, powder or liquid.Each participant completed a questionnaire about their medical history. Lung function tests and allergy tests were also carried out, along with an inhalation challenge test, which examines the airways specific reaction to a substance (in this case argan).Out of the nine workers, four displayed asthma or rhinitis symptoms and had a blocked nose when handling argan powder. The results found that three of them had occupational asthma caused by argan powder, proved by specific challenge tests. Two of the four also had a positive allergy skin prick-test to argan powder.Dr Emmanuelle Penven, lead author of the study, said: “Occupational asthma can be a debilitating condition if it prevents a person from working. This study is very preliminary but does suggest an association between argan powder and occupational asthma. Our initial findings warrant further research to understand any health risks associated with the compound.”Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:Other social bookmarking and sharing tools:|Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by European Lung Foundation, via AlphaGalileo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above. …

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New study finds increase in nonfatal food-related choking among children in the U. S.

July 29, 2013 — Choking is a leading cause of injury among children, especially for children 4 years of age and younger. A new study by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined nonfatal food-related choking among children 14 years of age or younger from 2001through 2009. During the nine-year study period, more than 12,000 children were treated each year in U.S. emergency departments for injuries from choking on food, which equals 34 children each day.According to the study, published in the July online issue of Pediatrics, hard candy caused the most choking episodes (15 percent), followed by other candy (13 percent), meat, other than hot dogs (12 percent), and bones (12 percent). These four food types alone accounted for more than half of all the choking episodes in the study. “Other high-risk foods, such as hot dogs, seeds and nuts, were more likely to require hospitalizations,” said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy. “These foods have high-risk characteristics that make them more likely to block a child’s airway or make them more difficult to chew, which can lead to more serious choking events.”More than 60 percent of the choking episodes occurred among children 4 years of age and younger. In line with physical and neurological development, the number of choking episodes decreased with increasing age until 7 years of age, after which the number of episodes remained relatively unchanged through age 14. However, the number of choking episodes involving candy increased with increasing age, and by age 4 years, more than half of choking episodes involved candy.”Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission has well-established surveillance systems in place, as well as legislation and regulations to protect children from nonfood-related choking, no similar monitoring systems, legislation, or regulations currently exist to address food-related choking among children,” added Dr. Smith, also professor of Pediatrics in The Ohio State University College of Medicine. …

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Android antiviral products easily evaded

May 30, 2013 — Think your antivirus product is keeping your Android safe? Think again. Northwestern University researchers, working with partners from North Carolina State University, tested 10 of the most popular antiviral products for Android and found each could be easily circumnavigated by even the most simple obfuscation techniques.

“The results are quite surprising,” said Yan Chen, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. “Many of these products are blind to even trivial transformation attacks not involving code-level changes — operations a teenager could perform.”

The researchers began by testing six known viruses on the fully functional versions of 10 of the most popular Android antiviral products, most of which have been downloaded by millions of users.

Using a tool they developed called DroidChameleon, the researchers then applied common techniques — such as simple switches in a virus’s binary code or file name, or running a command on the virus to repackage or reassemble it — to transform the viruses into slightly altered but equally damaging versions. Dozens of transformed viruses were then tested on the antiviral products, often slipping through the software unnoticed.

All of the antiviral products could be evaded, the researchers found, though their susceptibility to the transformed attacks varied.

The products’ shortcomings are due to their use of overly simple content-based signatures, special patterns the products use to screen for viruses, the researchers said. Instead, the researchers suggested, the products should use a more sophisticated static analysis to accurately seek out transformed attacks. Only one of the 10 tested tools currently utilizes a static analysis system.

The researchers chose to study Android products because it is the most commonly used operating system in the United States and worldwide, and because its open platform enabled the researchers to easily conduct analyses. They emphasized, however, that other operating systems are not necessarily more protected from virus attacks.

Antiviral products are improving. Last year, 45 percent of signatures could be evaded with trivial transformations. This year, the number has dropped to 16 percent.

“Still, these products are not as robust and effective as they must be to stop malware writers,” Chen said. “This is a cat-and-mouse game.”

A paper about the research, “Evaluating Android Anti-Malware Against Transformation Attacks,” was presented earlier this month at the 8th ACM Symposium on Information, Computer and Communications Security (ASIACCS 2013).

The research has been featured by numerous tech news outlets, including Dark Reading, Information Week, The H, Security Week, Slashdot, HelpNet Security, ISS Source, EFY Times, Tech News Daily, Fudzilla, and VirusFreePhone, as well as the German IT website Heise Security. It has also attracted the attention of several antivirus software manufacturers interested in the testing system, Chen said.

In addition to Chen, Vaibhav Rastogi, a PhD candidate at Northwestern, and Xuxian Jeng of North Carolina State University authored the work.

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