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Zorro

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 50
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 11,825

Journal Archives

Treating Alzheimer's by treating aging

Aging has been traditionally considered an inevitable part of life, not a disease. But modern molecular biology is uncovering how aging affects the body beyond the wrinkles, gray hair and aching joints.

Scientists have made great progress in fighting many of the illnesses more likely to afflict the elderly, including cancer and heart disease. But researchers have made very little progress against one of the most devastating age-related diseases: Alzheimer’s, which slowly robs patients of cognition and memory until they die.

About 5 million Americans are estimated to have Alzheimer’s, according to the National Institutes of Health. Another 1 million have mild cognitive impairment, which puts people at elevated risk for developing full-blown Alzheimer’s.

Researchers know a great deal about Alzheimer’s. They know how certain toxic proteins slowly destroy neurons and the brain. They can even see the telltale signs of Alzheimer’s in brain images that reveal these toxic proteins accumulating in the living brain.

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/biotech/sd-me-salk-alzheimers-drug-inhibits-aging-20190106-story.html

Interesting mention of turmeric and strawberry derivatives as possible aids to slowing down cognitive decline.

Marriott:Hackers accessed more than 5 million passport numbers during November's massive data breach

Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel company, said Friday that millions of passport numbers were accessed in a data breach that was first announced in November.

Marriott revealed for the first time, in a statement posted online, that hackers accessed approximately 5.25 million unencrypted passport numbers. The attack resulted in an additional 20.3 million encrypted passport numbers being swiped, but there is no evidence that the hackers were able to decrypt the data, the statement said.

Translated into another code, only available to those with access to a digital key, encrypted data is harder for hackers to obtain and considered more protected, according to experts.

Marriott also said that the breach affected an estimated 383 million “unique guests,” down from the original estimate of 500 million given when the company said in November that its Starwood guest reservations database had been penetrated by hackers.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/01/04/marriott-hackers-accessed-more-than-million-passport-numbers-during-novembers-massive-data-breach

Bluefin tuna sells for record $3.1 million at Tokyo fish market, but scarcity clouds celebration

Source: Washington Post

A bluefin tuna sold for a record $3.1 million at the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s new fish market on Saturday, but behind the celebrations hides a worrying tale of overfishing and dwindling stocks.

Kiyoshi Kimura, who owns the Sushi Zanmai restaurant chain, paid 333.6 million yen for the 613-lb (278-kg) fish at the first auction of the year, and the first to be held at Tokyo’s new Toyosu fish market after last year’s the move from the famous Tsukiji market.

The price at the predawn auction was nearly 10 times higher than the price paid at last year’s auction — albeit for a considerably smaller fish — and roughly double the previous record, also set by Kimura, in 2013. There was an intense bidding war with a rival buyer who had won last year.

The winner said he was “very satisfied with the quality” of the fish, but admitted he had paid much more than he had expected.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/01/05/bluefin-tuna-sells-record-million-tokyo-fish-market-scarcity-clouds-celebration

Anyone with a Fitbit Charge 3?

How do you like it? Pros/Cons?

Wife is after me to get a fitness tracker (she's pretty obsessive about meeting her daily goals), and this one is on sale for $119 at the QVC website. Looks like a pretty good deal.

Millions face delayed tax refunds, food stamps cuts as White House scrambles to deal with shutdown

Food stamps for 38 million low-income Americans face severe reductions and more than $140 billion in tax refunds are at risk of being frozen or delayed if the government shutdown stretches into February, widespread disruptions that threaten to hurt the economy.

The Trump administration, which had not anticipated a long-term shutdown, recognized only this week the breadth of the potential impact, several senior administration officials said. The officials said they’re focused now on understanding the scope of the consequences and determining whether there is anything they can do to intervene.

Thousands of federal programs are affected by the shutdown, but few intersect with the public as much as the tax system and the Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a modern-day version of food stamps.

The partial shutdown has cut off new funding to the Treasury Department and the USDA, leaving them largely unstaffed and crippling both departments’ ability to fulfill core functions.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/millions-face-delayed-tax-refunds-cuts-to-food-aid-as-white-house-scrambles-to-deal-with-shutdown/2019/01/04/b5b58616-0fa3-11e9-8938-5898adc28fa2_story.html

Trump finds yet another way to insult federal workers

The final days of 2018 saw a perplexing trifecta of events affecting our country’s federal workforce. The government shutdown, affecting the pay of about 800,000 federal employees, headed into its third week. In the middle of that shutdown, the president bragged about giving a nonexistent 10 percent pay raise to the military during a surprise visit to service members deployed overseas. Soon after returning from that trip, the president issued an order halting automatic pay raises for civilian federal workers in 2019, noting the need to “maintain efforts to put our Nation on a sustainable fiscal course.”

The message to the furloughed government employees (as well as those whose jobs are deemed “essential” and are still required to report to work without pay) is clear: You don’t matter because you’re not in the military.

I proudly served in the military and have written about the distinct honor of representing my country while in uniform and the risks of serving in harm’s way to defend its interests abroad. But I also fervently believe that national service doesn’t require a military uniform. There will always be instances of unwise government spending — as there are in any large organization — and I encourage and applaud efforts to reduce waste, redundancy and inefficiency. But the antigovernment sentiment underlying the president’s order to not increase the pay of federal employees unjustly vilifies them as a drain on the economy, while ignoring the important work they provide to their fellow citizens.

In his book, “The Fifth Risk,” author Michael Lewis describes the importance of little-known functions of federal agencies inside the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Energy. These range from providing food aid to our neediest citizens to monitoring the disposal, storage and security of nuclear waste. It may not be particularly glamorous work, but if it’s not done, people go hungry and hazardous material can pollute our environment — or worse, fall into the hands of nefarious actors. Every other federal agency provides some form of similarly unknown yet vital function to keep the system of services flowing to the country’s citizens and residents, dutifully managed by the employees of those agencies.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/tell-trump-national-service-doesnt-require-a-military-uniform/2019/01/03/9f62d91a-0f97-11e9-84fc-d58c33d6c8c7_story.html

MSC Zoe: Islands hit as 270 containers fall off ship

Extensive debris has washed up on islands off the Dutch north coast after some 270 containers including chemicals fell off a cargo ship in a storm.

As the extent of pollution became clear on five islands including Terschelling, coastguards searched the North Sea for missing containers.

The cargo fell off the MSC Zoe near the German island of Borkum, but the tide carried many of them to the south-west.

Initial images showed children's toys and TVs on Dutch beaches.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46746312

2019 will be the worst year of Donald Trump's life

Some presidents have really bad years.

For Nixon, it was 1974 — the Watergate year, which ended with his resignation. For Clinton, it was 1998 — the Monica year, which culminated with an impeachment trial in the Senate in 1999. He won that vote easily and came out more popular than before.

It’s a good guess that Donald Trump’s really bad year will be 2019. And it’s not yet clear whether he’ll survive, like Clinton, or be forced out of office, like Nixon.

Nixon’s worst year resulted from crimes in his 1972 reelection effort, when burglars working for the campaign got caught breaking into the Democratic headquarters, and then Nixon and others conspired to stop the break-in investigation and cover up what had happened.

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-wiener-trump-nixon-clinton-20190103-story.html

It's going to be a pretty bad year for the rest of us, too.

Around the world, miles of rock are missing. Could 'Snowball Earth' be the culprit?

When the famed explorer John Wesley Powell bumped, splashed and thrashed his way down the Colorado River in 1869, he discovered one of the most striking geologic features on Earth. Not the Grand Canyon — although that too is a marvel — but a conspicuous boundary between the sunset-colored sediments of the upper walls and the dark, jagged rocks below them.

Powell had learned to read the layers of desert rocks like pages in a book, and he recognized that the boundary represented a missing chapter in Earth’s geological history. Later, researchers realized it was more like an entire lost volume, spanning roughly one-fifth of Earth’s existence, and that a similar gap existed in many places around the world.

“There must have been some sort of special event in Earth’s history that led to widespread erosion,” said Steve Marshak, a geologist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studies what has come to be known as the Great Unconformity.

New research suggests it was something special indeed. Scientists propose that several freak episodes of global glaciation scoured away miles of continental crust, obliterating a billion years of geologic history in the process.

https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-snowball-earth-geology-20190103-story.html

Dickey Betts returns to performing following brain surgery

Dickey Betts ended an exciting year of ups and downs on a high note heard by rock fans around the world.

The founding Allman Brothers Band member celebrated his 75th birthday surrounded by loved ones at home on Little Sarasota Bay Dec. 12 and then about a week later appeared as the featured guest on the hit AXS TV show “The Big Interview With Dan Rather.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer concluded the month with a surprise performance, his first following successful brain surgery in September, during a New Year’s Eve show at the Grand Opera House in Macon, Georgia.

The Devon Allman Project performed with special guests Duane Betts (Dickey’s son) and Berry Oakley Jr. (another Sarasota County resident). The three Allman Brothers Band offspring were then joined by Dickey for a performance of his classic instrumental “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.”

https://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20190102/dickey-betts-returns-to-performing-following-brain-surgery
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