New ‘pigment noise’ technology could identify century-old colours

Washington, Sept 6 (ANI): Identifying the composition of pigments in century-old artworks could be made easier soon, with the discovery of a new technology called photoacoustic infrared spectroscopy.

The chemical composition of pigments is important to know, because it enables museums and restorers to know how the paints will react to sunlight and temperature changes, so that adequate preservation techniques can be employed.

Dr. Ian Butler at McGill”s Department of Chemistry used the new technique, which is based on Alexander Graham Bell”s 1880 discovery that showed solids could emit sounds when exposed to sunlight, infrared radiation or ultraviolet radiation, to analyze typical inorganic pigments that most artists use.

The researchers have classified 12 historically prominent pigments by the infrared spectra they exhibit – i.e., the range of noises they produce – and they hope the technique will be used to establish a pigment database.

“Once such a database has been established, the technique may become routine in the arsenal of art forensic laboratories,” said Butler. (ANI)

Now, parents use ”digital” grounding disciplinary tool

Washington, Sep 6 (ANI): In our digital age, even parents have adopted high tech art of family discipline-by snatching cellphones, blocking Facebook pages, pulling the plug on PlayStation.

When Lantha Carley”s high-schooler got a midterm grade report that contained letters of the alphabet that were not A, B or C, she decreed there would be no more Facebook until he delivered a report card with better grades.

“He lived with no lasting damage,” the Washington Post quoted Carley as saying.

“It”s a modern version of grounding,” said Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard psychologist and author of ”The parents we mean to be.”

“It”s like taking away a weekend or a couple of weekends. It”s a deprivation of social connections in the same way,” he added.

In a report earlier this year that captured part of the trend, 62 percent of parents said they had taken away a cellphone as punishment, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Parents “know how important and vital it is to their teens” existence,” said the report”s co-author Amanda Lenhart.

“They were getting them where it hurt,” she added. (ANI)

Acupuncture eases side effects and symptoms of some cancers

Washington, Sep 6 (ANI): A number of recent studies have shown that acupuncture can help control a number of symptoms and side effects-such as pain, fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, and vomiting-associated with a variety of cancers and their treatments.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering investigators have determined that acupuncture could reduce pain and dysfunction in individuals with cancer of the head or neck.

The study evaluated 58 patients who were suffering from chronic pain or dysfunction as a result of neck dissection.

For four weeks, study participants were randomly assigned into one of two groups: those receiving weekly acupuncture sessions and those receiving standard care, which included physical therapy, as well as pain and antiinflammatory medication.

The study found that individuals in the group receiving acupuncture experienced significant reductions in pain and dysfunction when compared with individuals receiving standard care.

Individuals in the acupuncture group also reported significant improvement in xerostomia, a condition in which patients receiving adjuvant radiation therapy experience extreme dry mouth.

In a commentary on the subject in the September 2009 issue of Expert Reviews Anticancer Therapies, Memorial Sloan-Kettering investigators reported that among the complementary therapies used to decrease symptoms and side effects, acupuncture is very beneficial for symptom management.

In a study in February 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, 50 women with hormone-receptor positive breast cancer were assigned into one of two groups.

The first group received 12 weeks of acupuncture, and the second group received treatment with venlafaxine.

Both groups experienced significant decreases in hot flashes, depressive symptoms, and other quality-of-life symptoms. However, women in the group taking venlafaxine began to re-experience their symptoms about two weeks after stopping drug therapy.

In comparison, it took 15 weeks for the symptoms to return for women in the group receiving acupuncture. In addition, women in the acupuncture group reported no significant side effects during treatment, while the group taking venlafaxine experienced 18 incidences of adverse effects, including nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, and anxiety.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. (ANI)

40 pc of NYC students are overweight

New York, Sep 06 (ANI): A new report has shown that New York city students are overweight or obese – with about half the youngsters in some zip codes tipping the scales too heavily.

In the largest study of childhood obesity ever conducted in the city, 40 pc of kindergartners through eighth-graders – more than 250,000 kids – were found to be too heavy.

Officials say even though the data seem startling, the rate of obesity in city kids is actually flat-lining, while it”s rising nationwide.

“While it would be great if we saw the numbers go down, it is encouraging that they”re holding steady,” the New York Daily News quoted Laurie Benson, executive director of the Department of Education”s Office of School Wellness, referring to previous studies with smaller sample sizes, as saying.

The report based on Fitnessgram assessments of more than 635,000 kids in eighth grade or lower, showed wide variation in obesity levels throughout different neighborhoods.

In the upper West Side zip code of 10069, less than 12 pc of kids were found to be obese or overweight. But in Corona”s 11368, a shocking 51 pc of kids were found to be too heavy.

The report also found that about 48 pc of children in two Central Harlem/Morningside Heights zip codes – 10037 and 10039 – are too heavy.

About 47pc of kids in four zip codes in Washington Heights/Inwood – 10031, 10040, 10033, 10032 – are overweight or obese.

More than 46 pc of youngsters in Williamsburg/Bushwick”s 11237 and East Harlem”s 10029 are carrying too much weight.

City officials conceded that the dramatic geographic divide is disappointing but not surprising. (ANI)

‘Kim Kardashian is dating her work’, says Kourtney

Washington, Sep 06 (ANI): Kourtney Kardashian has revealed that her sister Kim is a complete workaholic.

“She”s dating her work. Kim is a workaholic,” People quoted Kourtney as saying.

Clearly joking about her ubiquitous sister”s love life, Kourtney said she simply wants Kim to be happy and thinks she has not yet found her perfect match.

“I don”t think she”s found that perfect person for her yet,” she added. (ANI)

Clooney’s ‘The American’ is biggest grosser at this week’s box-office

Washington, Sep 6 (ANI): George Clooney’s ‘The American’ has come out toppers at the weekend box-office.

The grown-up thriller grossed 13 million dollars, per estimates.

Despite its second-place finish, ‘Takers’ with 11.5 million dollars took honours as the Top 10”s biggest theater-for-theater hit.

Lindsay Lohan’s ‘Machete’, debuted in third place, with 11.3 million dollars—a good bit of business for a 25 million dollar movie, reports E! Online.

Rounding up the top five are ‘The Last Exorcism’ and Drew Barrymore’s ‘Going the Distance’, costarring Justin Long with 7.6 million and 6.9 million dollars respectively.

Here”s a look at the holiday weekend”s top-grossing films, per Friday-Sunday estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo:

1. The American, 13 milion dollars
2. Takers, 11.5 million dollars
3. Machete, 11.3 million dollars
4. The Last Exorcism, 7.6 million dollars
5. Going the Distance, 6.9 million dollars
6. The Expendables, 6.6 million dollars
7. The Other Guys, 5.4 million dollars
8. Eat Pray Love, 4.9 million dollars
9. Inception, 4.5 million dollars
10. Nanny McPhee Returns, 3.6 million dollars (ANI)

‘The fewer clothes the better’, says Kate Hudson

Washington, Sept 6 (ANI): Kate Hudson has said that she feels most comfortable with minimal clothing, claiming “the fewer clothes the better” for her.

“My personal style has never changed,” People magazine quoted her as telling Elle UK in its October issue.

“I love comfortable clothes and a lot of accessories. In fact, the fewer clothes the better,” said the actress and mom, who took time out from her Tuscan vacation with son Ryder, 6, and British rock star boyfriend Matt Bellamy, to pose for the magazine’s cover.

“I don’t like clothes that constrict me. It’s like, would you like to put some clothes on? No, I wouldn’t!” she added.

She loves to wear coveted accessories, especially her mom’s jewelry gifts.

“For my birthday this year, she made me a gold necklace with a comedy/tragedy mask pendant. It has a little diamond as the tear,” she added. (ANI)

‘Spanking kept MJ away from gangs’, says Joe Jackson

Washington, Sept 6 (ANI): Michael Jackson’s father Joe has said that his heavy parental hand kept the king of Pop away from gangs.

He made the comment in an interview shot by over the summer, which will be used as part of a movie Katherine Jackson is producing with Howard Mann.

In the interview, he speaks about Michael”s past comments about Joe”s parenting — alluding to allegations of physical abuse.

“I had to be like that because when raising him, in those days, so many gangs out there getting into trouble, going to jail. Most of them are dead now. He didn”t have to worry about that,” the quoted him as saying.

When asked if he had any regrets, “No! They tried to make a big issue when I spanked Michael or some of the kids, ya know?

Just like they didn”t spank their kids when they did wrong. The media twists everything,” he added. (ANI)

Missing piece of Mars puzzle may reveal whether life existed on planet

Washington, Sept 4 (ANI): Experiments prompted by a 2008 surprise from NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander suggest that soil examined by NASA’s Viking Mars landers in 1976 may have contained carbon-based chemical building blocks of life.

“This doesn’t say anything about the question of whether or not life has existed on Mars, but it could make a big difference in how we look for evidence to answer that question,” said Chris McKay of NASA.

Scientists had found two organic chemicals – chloromethane and dichloromethane – when the Viking landers heated samples of Martian soil.

Those are exactly what the new study found when a little perchlorate — the surprise finding from Phoenix – was added to desert soil from Chile containing organics and analyzed in the manner of the Viking tests.

“Our results suggest that not only organics, but also perchlorate, may

have been present in the soil at both Viking landing sites,” said Rafael Navarro-Gonzalez of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City.

Even if Mars has never had life, scientists before Viking anticipated that Martian soil would contain organics from meteorites.

“For 30 years we were looking at a jigsaw puzzle with a piece missing. Phoenix has provided the missing piece: perchlorate. The perchlorate discovery by Phoenix was one of the most important results from Mars since Viking,” McKay said.

If organic compounds can indeed persist in the surface soil of Mars, contrary to the predominant thinking for three decades, one way to search for evidence of life on Mars could be to check for types of large, complex organic molecules, such as DNA, that are indicators of biological activity.

“If organics cannot persist at the surface, that approach would not be wise, but if they can, it’s a different story,” McKay said. (ANI)

Murray overcomes flamboyant Dustin Brown at US Open

London, Sep 4 (ANI): British No.1 Andy Murray defeated Dustin Brown 7-5 6-3 6-0 in just 85 minutes and silenced his noisy fans to advance to the third round of the US Open.

Murray coped well with Brown’s mix of big serving, volleys and constant drop shots to win in New York. It was another impressive display from the Scot at Flushing Meadows.

Murray now faces Swiss 25th seed Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat Juan Ignacio Chela 7-5 6-3 6-4.

“I’d never played him before so at the start of the match it was very interesting,” The BBC quoted Murray, as saying.

“He went for his shots huge and was hitting fun shots so I was glad to get off in straight sets. I kind of knew what to expect coming into the match. I’ve been told he likes to put on a bit of a show beforehand,” he added.

Brown, ranked 123 in the world, had become the first Jamaican to reach the second round of a Grand Slam since 1974.

And he made his mark with his unusual playing style and on-court eccentricities, such as insisting on using the same ball throughout his service games and choosing not to sit down at the changeovers.

“It’s not bad losing to Andy Murray. I’m definitely not upset, that’s why it was a good first set. The other two sets he started getting more comfortable and definitely returning really well,” said Brown. (ANI)

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