Sunday, August 29, 2010
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YouTube - Amazing Roger Federer trickshot on Gillette ad shoot
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Gordon Dean was an American lawyer and prosecutor whose distinguished career was fairly typical for Washington types. He went to work for the Justice Department under President Franklin Roosevelt, taught in the law schools at Duke University and the University of Southern California. He was appointed as one of the original commissioners of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1949 by President Harry Truman, eventually becoming its chairman from 1950 to 1953.
When Dean died in a plane crash in 1958, it's said that among his personal effects was an envelope with nine life lessons scribbled on the back. These lessons aren't about the law or atomic energy or foreign relations. Rather, they represent wisdom that should be shared and used by people everywhere. These are his superb lessons:
1. Never lose your capacity for enthusiasm.
2. Never lose your capacity for indignation.
3. Never judge people - don't type them too quickly. But in a pinch, never first assume that a man is bad; first assume that he is good and that, at worst, he is in the gray area between bad and good.
4. Never be impressed by wealth alone or thrown by poverty.
5. If you can't be generous when it's hard to be, you won't be when it's easy.
6. The greatest builder of confidence is the ability to do something - almost anything - well.
7. When confidence comes, then strive for humility; you aren't as good as all that.
8. The way to become truly useful is to seek the best that other brains have to offer. Use them to supplement your own, and be prepared to give credit to them when they have helped.
9. The greatest tragedies in the world and personal events stem from misunderstandings. So communicate!
The reason I'm so impressed with Dean's lessons is that - besides being written on an envelope - they apply across the board, to all ages in every profession. They are simple yet profound.
Perhaps you remember Robert Fulghum's runaway best-seller, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," which the author says reminds us that the most basic aspects of life bear its most important opportunities. Again, the life lessons contained in Fulghum's book are not complicated. It is their simplicity that makes them universal.
You may have noticed that I end every column with a moral - a life lesson of sorts. Some of those morals resulted from experiences that taught me that I still have plenty to learn. We have all learned some lessons along the way, including plenty from the school of hard knocks.
Through the years, I have offered more than 1,000 morals in this column and in my books. Naturally, I have some favorites that have universal applications:
• They don't pay off on effort ... they pay off on results.
• People don't care how much you know about them once they know how much you care about them.
• Make decisions with your heart and you'll wind up with heart disease.
• Pale ink is better than the most retentive memory.
• When a person with money meets a person with experience, ... here is what happens: The person with the experience winds up with the money and the person with the money winds up with the experience.
• No one ever choked swallowing his or her own pride.
• Sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.
• If you don't learn from your mistakes, there's no sense in making them.
• If you think you're irreplaceable, try putting your finger in a bowl of water and observe the hole it leaves when you take it out.
• People go around all of their lives thinking: What should I buy? What should I sell? Wrong questions: When should I buy? When should I sell?
• There is a place in the world for anyone who says, "I'll take care of it."
• Failure is no more fatal than success is permanent.
• We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start.
Mere platitudes? No, these words hold real meaning for me. No doubt you have learned a few lessons too, and I'd love to hear them. I'm always ready to learn something new!
Mackay's Moral: We are all students of life. Pay attention and take notes!
by Harvey Mackay August 16, 2010
The "CT Umbra" is based on a map of vertical lines created from a CAD model of the CT 200h, Lexus's fifth hybrid car. Made out of 2,500 half-inch anodized aluminum bars cut to the exact measurements of the map, the installation aims to highlight the two seemingly opposing features of the vehicle, luxury and eco-friendliness, by changing colors from luxurious gold to earthy green and blue.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
ITEM: Auto insurance
AVERAGE COSTS: It's hard to pinpoint average premiums because they vary by company, driver characteristics, vehicle and more. A recent study by insure.com pegged the average Arizona premium at $1,153 a year, below the U.S. average of $1,429.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: The Arizona Department of Insurance provides premium quotes for different insurers and scenarios. This premium comparison and complaint-ratio report can be found on the agency's website, www.id.state.az.us/consumerauto home.html.
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ITEM: Mutual funds
AVERAGE COSTS: Stock funds on average charge 1 percent a year or $10 for every $1,000 investment; bond funds average about 0.75 percent. These figures are summed up in a standard measure called the expense ratio.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: The most penny-pinching funds charge less than 0.2 percent. Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, tend to be especially low-cost. Some mutual funds also levy sales charges, or "loads," in addition to ongoing expenses.
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ITEM: Checking accounts
AVERAGE COSTS: Free checking accounts are common, with nearly half of banks offering them, MoneyRates.com reports. Accounts with no maintenance fees are more widespread at credit unions, where four in five offer them, Bankrate.com says.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: Beware of other costs. For example, a Bankrate.com study pegged the average bounced-check fee at $29.58. If you use an ATM outside your bank's network, plan on paying about $2.22 on average.
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ITEM: Debit rewards
AVERAGE COSTS: Debit cards let you earn points on transactions that can be redeemed for rewards. Bankrate.com found most banks don't charge fees for these programs. On the rest, fees average $25 a year.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: In its survey of 40 rewards programs, Bankrate.com also found three in four debit cards don't limit the amount of points you can earn. Some even grant extra rewards if you deal with favored merchants.
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ITEM: Home insurance
AVERAGE COSTS: Arizona homeowners pay below-average premiums, thanks in part to few natural disasters here. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' latest tally put Arizona premiums at $634 on average compared with $822 nationally.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: As with auto premiums, the Arizona Department of Insurance tracks sample insurance costs for homeowners. This consumer guide and premium comparison for homeowners insurance can be found at www.id.state.az .us/homerate.html.
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ITEM: Tax-return preparation
AVERAGE COSTS: Tax help can range from nothing to hundreds of dollars. A survey by the National Society of Accountants pegged the average fee charged by professional return preparers at $229 for a Form 1040, Schedule A and state return.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: Taxpayers with simpler returns can expect to pay less. The same NSA survey put the average fee at $129 for Form 1040s with a state return and no itemized deductions. There's also the Free File program for moderate-income people at www.irs.gov.
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ITEM: Credit cards
AVERAGE COSTS: Interest rates have been rising, with advertised rates now averaging 13.7 percent, reports LowCards.com. That's up from 12.1 percent a year ago. Most cards now charge variable interest.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS: While it might pay to switch credit cards, be careful if your credit isn't good because you might have trouble qualifying. Also, check on terms and conditions before you leap, as the rules have been changing.
by Russ Wiles Arizona Republic August 9, 2010
Take stock of your situation and save
Still, things have been worse. The U.S. unemployment rate during the Great Depression reached a high of 25 percent in 1933 and remained above 15 percent through 1940.
No one in his right mind would have thought of starting up a business during a rocky, hardscrabble era like that.
Or would he? Research business history from October 1929 to December 1940, and you'll find some astonishing and uplifting facts:
• Howard Johnson's was a single restaurant until 1932. Through franchising, it added 40 more restaurants by the end of 1936 and had a total of 107 units by 1939.
• Boeing created the first modern airliner - the 247 - in 1933, during the depths of the Depression.
• Hewlett-Packard originated in a Palo Alto, Calif., garage in 1935.
• Hormel introduced its canned chili in 1936 and Spam in 1937, while the Depression was in full swing.
• The Estee Lauder Companies came into being in 1935.
• Curt Carlson founded the Carlson Companies - today a multibillion-dollar behemoth - in 1938 with a $55 loan.
Well and good, you may say, but this was all before the era of information technology. Remember the face of technology is an ever-changing one.
The world of high-tech audio today may be all about the MP3.
Back in 1934, while the likes of John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson were robbing the banks of Middle America, the Hammond organ was being invented. This seemingly tame breakthrough revolutionized the world of music, from radio broadcasts to church services.
A downturn can spark great things. I've learned more than a few people who lose their jobs in a stalled economy decide to give the "entrepreneurial thing" a shot. They may end up investing their entire life's nest egg on a fling.
In 1975, at the end of another serious recession, Roger Schelper and his buddies decided to open what is today Davanni's, a New York-style pizzeria in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
Launching a business, especially in tough times, is a high-risk play that you should only consider with a cool head, a solid plan and the anticipation that you will have to dedicate an incredible amount of personal work and patience.
Here are some of the things that Schelper learned in his venture that any budding entrepreneur should bear in mind during a downturn or, for that matter, at any time:
• Research the market carefully. Your chances often hinge on identifying an attractive, unoccupied market niche - one that you have the know-how and raw ingredients to fill with authority.
• Know the success factors. In the restaurant business, for example, you could be the greatest chef since Julia Child and still end up eating your own leftovers. Running a successful restaurant has a three-course menu: location, location, location. Schelper's team zeroed in on a high-density trading area of customers with ideal buying traits, finding an optimum site with the right zoning. They were cooking with all the right ingredients.
• Be tightfisted about raises, especially with your own. Schelper clocked 80- to 90-hour workweeks from the get-go. He gave himself his first raise after the business retired a small loan. Get this: It was the first time the business paid him even minimum wage!
• Do something you love. "If you don't, you won't be able to put in the necessary hours to make the venture work," Schelper says.
Today, Davanni's has more than 20 pizza shops and a dedicated customer and employee base. But there's one other fact worth remembering. Schelper was the kind of guy who was paying his way from the time he was 11, shoveling snow and mowing lawns throughout the neighborhood while he carried two paper routes. So before you make the leap and open that bed and breakfast or sink your savings into a digital widget factory, take a long, hard look at your track record. Do you have the makeup to take this kind of a pounding?
Mackay's Moral: Entrepreneurs who make it are usually born entrepreneurs to start with.
by Harvey Mackay August 9, 2010
Mackay: Eye success even amid a downturn
Contrary to popular belief, you CAN dress well without spending a fortune on designer clothes and shoes. I love fashion and can relate to the need to look good and to impress. It’s a very human need, after all. No one wants to look frumpy or “cheap.” However, I do believe that it’s quite possible to look great without spending your entire paycheck on Manolo Blahniks or on designer clothes. Here are a few tips and tricks for looking fab on a budget:
Wait for a Sale
All items eventually go on sale, so if you’re willing to wait a few weeks, you will be able to snag the same item at a much lower price than the original price. The longer you wait, the higher the discount – but also the risk that you won’t be able to find the item in your size or in your favorite color. The only caveat when it comes to shopping items on sale: it’s very tempting to buy something just because it’s on sale, but that would be a waste. You must be very aware of this temptation and make sure you only buy thing you need – things you would have purchased anyway.
Shop Off-Price Retailers
Off-price retailers such as T.J. Maxx, and the online retailer Bluefly, specialize in buying surplus designer clothes at a bargain. They then transfer the savings to you. It’s not unheard of to be able to get the same item that sells for $200 at a department store for half that price at an off-price retailer, during the same time – many of these items are not last-season clothes. The main issue with shopping off-price retailers is time – you will need to go through lots of lower-quality items to snag that one, fab top at half price.
Splurge on the Classics, Save on Trendy Items
I like to buy one or two high-quality, full-price, classic items each season. I pay full price for those because it’s important for me to get them in my size and in the color I prefer. These could be tailored pants, a crisp white shirt, a cropped jacket – timeless, classic items that I can wear for many seasons, so I don’t mind paying more – I feel that I’m getting my money’s worth. But when it comes to items that won’t last for more than a season or two, such as woven cotton tops, or trendy items that look fresh now but will look dated next year, I see no reason to pay full price.
Shop Your Own Closet
Many of us have items in the back of our closet that we have forgotten about. Going shopping in your own closet is lots of fun, and you may just find a few items that would add color and interest to your wardrobe. While you’re at it, try on some clothes, make sure to get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in a while and that do not fit you anymore. An airy, uncluttered closet makes getting dressed much easier.
Use a Seamstress
Back in the sixties, my mom, a beautiful young woman with a limited budget, used to purchase fashion magazines, leaf through them, and cut out dresses she liked. She then took those pictures to a seamstress, who made similar dresses for her at a fraction of how much they would have cost her at a store. These days, seamstresses seem to be an endangered species, but if you can find one that would do this for you, go for it. You won’t just save money – you will also get clothes that are tailored exactly to your figure.
In her book “Women and Beauty,” Sophia Lauren talks about her young, poor days, “In order to have something to wear in those early days in Rome, something that would cost practically nothing and could be worn all day long and into the evening, and on every sort of occasion, I took my clothes, my navy skirt and white blouse, and dyed them black. Even my handkerchief became black. It was the only way I could think of to provide a versatile wardrobe at no cost. And it worked. I could go anywhere in my black clothes, and the simplicity of my appearance was very elegant.”
Dressing well on a budget is obviously not as easy as dressing well on an unlimited budget, but it can be done with a little thought and planning. What are your own tips and tricks for dressing well on a budget? Do you wait for sales, shop off-price retailers, or use other tactics that I haven’t thought of?by Vered DeLeeuw Money Ning July 29, 2010
How to Dress Well on a Budget
• Parties frame issues differently.
Back in law school, I remember a conversation with a first-year student who knew his subjects well but had done poorly on his first-semester exams. Why?
He framed the issues differently from the professor and most other law students. As an art-history major in college, he was not accustomed to linear, logical analysis and thought. Instead, he viewed things in a more holistic and creative environment.
I was reminded of this conversation when I was in Singapore, as I had students from Indonesia, Thailand, India, Italy, Denmark and Russia plus Singapore (70 percent of whom are culturally Chinese).
In our in-class negotiations, it became apparent that some of the students were on different wavelengths. While some of the different perspectives were cultural, many were not.
Bottom line: Different minds frame issues in different ways.
So what should we do? Find out how your counterparts tend to approach issues. Explore their dominant frame of reference. Then incorporate this into your strategic negotiation plan, understanding that tendencies like these may change in different circumstances.
• Know the value of creativity.
In Singapore, I met a Texas native who was transferred there with a large corporation and subsequently started several of his own entrepreneurial efforts. One of his observations was that the culture in Singapore tended to devalue certain types of creativity.
While this opened up opportunities for him, a lack of creativity and an inability to generate options outside the box is a distinct disadvantage in many negotiations.
Personally, I don't know if his observations actually reflect the culture, there is a tendency in Singapore in this regard, especially as my students exhibited significant creativity in several negotiation environments. Regardless, there is no doubt that creative and sometimes unconventional approaches toward negotiations can make or break a deal.
• Account for unpredictability.
This was my second trip to Singapore, and I was struck once again with the logical efficiency with which it appears to function. Suffice it to say that the proverbial trains run on time.
And yet, Singapore continues to have certain challenges, even traffic ones as I personally experienced. Why? Because humans can be unpredictable, in negotiations and in life.
Sometimes we try to predict parties' negotiation behavior based on precedent, their incentives and our perception of their interests. These predictive elements are critical. But we are still sometimes surprised.
This makes certain negotiators particularly challenging with which to deal. If you do your homework and research their reputations, you can predict some of their unpredictability.
by Marty Latz Special for the Republic Aug. 5, 2010 12:00 AM
Consider creativity, framing in negotiating
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
Wes C. Skiles, a freelance photographer for National Geographic Magazine, died Wednesday while filming underwater in the ocean off Florida, his home state. He was 52.
Photo of Wes Skiles by Luis Lamar
"National Geographic has learned of the tragic death of Wes Skiles, the accomplished underwater photographer, cinematographer and explorer with whom we've worked frequently," the National Geographic Society said in a statement today. "The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident, which occurred following the conclusion of a scientific research expedition related to marine life off the east coast of Florida. Our thoughts are with Wes' family."
A photograph by Skiles is the current (August) cover story of National Geographic. Editor in Chief Chris Johns devoted his "Editor's Note" to the photographer in the same issue (Editor's Note: Diving Bahamas Caves). A gallery of Skiles' photos for the story can be seen online: Deep Dark Secrets.
"Wes was a true explorer in every sense and a wonderful spirit," Chris Johns said today. "He set a standard for underwater photography, cinematography and exploration that is unsurpassed. It was an honor to work with him, and he will be deeply missed."
"Wes was a big bear of a man who had a tender heart. His tenacity to get after stories and make them the best they could be was second to none," said Kurt Mutchler, executive editor, photography.
"He loved working for the magazine--and the feeling was mutual. He recently told me that his mother was always getting after him to work more for us, and I am deeply saddened we won't have that opportunity. His last story for us, Bahamas Blue Holes, made the August 2010 cover. It's a testament to Wes's photographic skills, courage and child-like wonder in the search for the unknown. He will be sorely missed," Mutchler said.
Wes Skiles' photograph (above) of veteran cave diver Brian Kakuk lifting a more than 3,000-year-old Cuban crocodile skull--an animal no longer found in the Bahamas--from sediment in Sawmill Sink is one of two dozen photos featured in the July 2010 National Geographic Magazine online gallery "Deep Dark Secrets."
National Geographic Freelance Photographer Wes Skiles Dies - NatGeo News Watch
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The U.S. government should lead development of a nuclear thermal propulsion system for a future Mars mission and leave new heavy-lift launchers to commercial entities, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) says.
Unveiling conceptual plans for a family of Falcon X and XX future heavy-lift vehicles at last week’s AIAA Joint Propulsion conference here, SpaceX McGregor rocket development facility director Tom Markusic said, “Mars is the ultimate goal of SpaceX.”
The company, which until now has focused mostly on development of vehicles to transport cargo and humans to low Earth orbit (LEO), believes its Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launchers could be evolved into a heavy-lift family that will provide the basis for a Mars-capable architecture.
For the transition from Earth to Mars, however, SpaceX believes nuclear thermal is the preferred propulsion means for the piloted aspect of the mission, while solar-electric power could be used to transport supplies.
The U.S. government “should take the lead on nuclear and commercial industry should take the lead on building heavy-lift launch vehicles,” Markusic says. “Low-level propulsion technology research and development should be government-led, with a transition to flight development in 2025.”
Markusic’s call flies in the face of SpaceX’s usual advocacy for industrially driven competition and Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS)-like procurement. However, he says “the government should only lead the propulsion element development where there is no existing commercial capability, or a high risk of capital loss.”
For cargo to Mars, SpaceX’s architecture suggests tugs powered by clusters of solar-electric powered thrusters. The 100-kw. tugs each would carry around 4 metric tons of payload and take 390 days for the round trip.
The plan envisages a fleet of up to 10 tugs rotating between LEO and Mars orbit, with vehicles being serviced and turned at a terminus based on the International Space Station.
For landing and ascending on Mars or its moon Phobos, SpaceX is proposing a liquid oxygen (Lox)/methane powered propulsion system capable of delivering a payload of approximately 35 metric tons. In-situ derived methane could be used for fuel, while existing engines now in development by ATK or Xcor Aerospace could provide the basis for initial units.
SpaceX’s long-discussed Merlin 2 Lox/rocket propellant-fueled engine, capable of a projected 1.7 million lb. of thrust at sea level and 1.92 million lb. in a vacuum, would provide the power for the Falcon X and XX heavy launch vehicles.
Slated to be introduced on more capable variants of the Falcon 9 Heavy, the Merlin 2 “could be qualified in three years for $1 billion,” Markusic says.
Three Merlin 2s would power the first stage of Falcon X, a 300-ft. plus tall vehicle capable of placing 38,000 kg. in LEO.
A growth development, dubbed Falcon X Heavy, would employ nine engines clustered in three cores. Collectively these would generate 10.8 million lb. of thrust at liftoff and boost 125,000 kg. to orbit. The ultimate launch vehicle, the Falcon XX, stands as tall as the Saturn V, is configured with six engines in a single core and is designed to lift 140,000 kg. to LEO.
“It’s just a question of is it going to be our generation or the next that’s going to do these things,” Markusic says. “I think there’s a growing wave of people who’d like to do this. It’s really critical to just get started. There’s an incredible amount of technology out there that we can grab. A piloted mission to Mars by 2020-2025 can be accomplished if we start building and testing hardware now.”
By Guy Norris Aviation Week August 5, 2010
Photo Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX Unveils Heavy-Lift Vehicle Plan | AVIATION WEEK
When competition among co-workers gets in the way of goals, companies need to evaluate their procedures and perhaps re-evaluate their priorities.
All the cogs in a machine have to be working in concert to maintain productivity. When the human cogs go out of sync, the machine groans and sputters. Regardless of their individual strengths, all the parts must coordinate for peak performance.
Teamwork takes on a much bigger role in tough times. When the team shrinks and fewer players are responsible for results, one underperformer can have a huge impact.
For example, Joanne retires and management decides not to replace her. Her job is split between Andrew and Heather, who are promoted and assume those responsibilities in addition to those already in their job descriptions.
But Heather doesn't do things quite like Joanne did, and Andrew didn't anticipate that he'd have to work so much harder. So folks who used to depend on Joanne's cheerful efficiency try to work around the new arrangement, but the results are disappointing.
This scenario has repeated itself in companies across the country. Hiring statistics indicate that job creation is proceeding at a snail's pace. People with jobs, even jobs they don't love, don't want to be the next to be downsized. If they are reluctant to look for another job, they must learn how to adapt and work together.
In preparation for a family trip to South Africa, I previewed a fascinating new book, "Ubuntu!"
It addresses the importance of teamwork, based on Ubuntu - the African tradition of teamwork and collaboration. I highly recommend this book, written by Stephen Lundin, co-author of the bestseller "Fish," and Bob Nelson, author of another best-seller, "1,001 Ways to Reward Employees."
These men are authorities on employee performance and I value their insight.
According to the authors, "Ubuntu is a philosophy that considers the success of the group above that of the individual."
This concept is told in a fable about a workplace where a newly promoted manager cannot find a way to get his team to work together, and who often ends up trying to cover their mistakes himself.
One day, the manager's boss comes to him in frustration about the performance of his department, and explains how customers are being adversely affected. She is clear about her expectations for improvement. His job is in jeopardy because his management style is allowing too many mistakes.
One of his employees, Simon, is an African M.B.A. candidate who works at the company while he finishes his degree. Simon is a stellar employee whose work is exceptional. He offers to help the manager catch up, and then explains Ubuntu.
The manager is intrigued enough by what he has learned that he shares it with his boss. Among those lessons:
• Ubuntu does not mean respecting bad work. It does mean respecting the person who does the work.
• Ubuntu is a compassionate philosophy, but it is not soft. When the group is threatened by an individual's behavior, that person must be challenged.
• Expect the best from others and you're likely to get it.
• There are two levels of recognition in Ubuntu. The first is to value others for who they are. The second is to value others for what they achieve.
• As long as there are employees who think of themselves as "little people," the work of Ubuntu is not finished.
There is a little twist to the story. The manager learns that Simon was a respected businessman and Ubuntu practitioner in Africa before he came to study in America. As his American manager puts this philosophy into practice, results improve dramatically, as does employee satisfaction.
As companies have to do more with less, it makes sense to pay attention to the people who are asked to take on new or expanded duties.
Effective teamwork soothes employee fears and makes the workplace more productive.
Mackay's Moral: There is no "I"' in team, but you will find "us" in success.
Mackay: Teamwork more crucial in tough times
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Researchers have found a drug that can help the brain grow new cells and said their study may lead to ways to improve experimental Alzheimer's drugs.
The researchers' work, done on rodents, builds on findings that all mammals, including humans, make brain cells throughout their lives. Most of these die, but this drug helps more of the baby cells survive and grow to become functioning brain cells.
"We make new neurons every day in our brain," Andrew Pieper of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas who worked on the study, said in a telephone interview. "What our compound does in allow more of them to survive."
The compound is called P7C3 for now, and the researchers have already started tweaking it to make it more effective. They said it seems safe and appears to work even when taken as a pill.
The compound is similar to Medivation Inc and Pfizer Inc's experimental Alzheimer's drug, Dimebon, and may provide ways to improve its effects, Pieper and colleagues reported in the journal Cell.
It is also similar to some compounds owned by Serono, the researchers said.
Dimebon, originally a Russian-made antihistamine also known as latrepirdine, failed in a clinical trial for Alzheimer's disease in March.
"For the sake of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease, it is hoped that the apparently marginal clinical utility of Dimebon might be enhanced by improvements in both its potency and ceiling of proneurogenic, neuroprotective efficacy," the researchers wrote.
"If so, our work offers concrete assays for the development of improved versions of these neuroprotective drugs."
Alzheimer's gradually destroys the brain and affects 26 million people globally. Drugs, such as Pfizer's Aricept, improve symptoms only minimally.
OLD RATS, NEW TRICKS
The researchers went through 1,000 representative compounds from 300,000 chemicals, pooled them and administered them to mice. They then dissected the brains to see whether any of the mice had made new cells in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with learning and memory.
They eventually narrowed the field to P7C3.
When they gave it to old rats for two months, the elderly rodents did far better than other old rats in learning their way around a water maze.
When dissected, the treated rats turned out to have three times the usual number of newborn neurons in a brain region called the dentate gyrus.
They made a derivative of P7C3 called A20 that worked even better.
When the researchers tested Dimebon and the Serono compounds, they found these drugs also stimulated the growth of new brain cells. Being able to target their effects could lead to better drugs to treat Alzheimer's and perhaps other diseases that destroy brain cells like strokes and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also know as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.
"This striking demonstration of a treatment that stems age-related cognitive decline in living animals points the way to potential development of the first cures that will address the core illness process in Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute on Mental Health, which helped pay for the study.
A pill to make you smarter? Drug grows brain cells - Yahoo! News
Bela Fidel's "The World as Ground Zero" explores the aftermath of terrorism.After the September 11 attacks, Brazilian painter Bela Fidel wanted to show Americans they weren't alone.
Terrorism plagues the entire world, Fidel said, and people are not divided by their country's borders. She set out to capture this message in paint. Six years later, "The World as Ground Zero" was finished.
Through July, Valley residents can see the three dimensional collage at North Scottsdale's El Pedregal Festival Marketplace, at the Boulders Resort.
The grim piece is assembled with images, text, metal sheets and burnt canvas. Fidel's shades of gray, black and white give the piece a historic feeling, while the bright red accents remind the viewer terrorism is alive in the world.
The Republic spoke with Fidel about the politically-charged piece and her artistic process.
Question: What inspired the piece?
Answer: I connect this painting to Picasso's "Guernica." Guernica was a village in Spain attacked by the Nazis on a busy weekday. I see a parallel between that and what terrorists do all over the world today. "Guernica" depicts pain and destruction and violence. That's what I wanted to do in my piece, so I brought in images from Picasso.
Q: So your piece is like a modern version of "Guernica?"
A: I mixed his images with images of 9/11 and the attacks on the train in Spain a few years later, as well as a variety of attacks in Israel. I manipulated the images to put them in a different context. The piece shows terrorism from all over the world, not just one country.
Q: What attracted you to terrorism as a subject matter?
A: We eat and drink terrorism a lot. It's everywhere. After 9/11, I wanted as an artist to explain what I was feeling. I attempted it with oils, but I wasn't happy and I felt I didn't have the means to express what I was feeling. Years passed and I learned different techniques. In 2007, I was finally fully capable to express in retrospect what we all feel today.
Q: How does the piece differ from your other work?
A: Most of my other work does not show human suffering. It is not political. Everything I do has an explanation behind it. This is the first painting I did where so many forces were involved: human pain, political turmoil. Unfortunately, this painting is still very timely even though I've had it since 2007. I hope it becomes obsolete real quick.
Q: How do viewers react to the piece?
A: When I've shown it in my studio, people read the text from the painting with a lot of concentration. This piece really was a labor of love. I've been painting for 37 years, but this was the first painting I was working so much on, I forgot to eat.
Q: What is the message you hope viewers will take away from the piece?
A: The piece shows terrorism in the Untied States and in Spain and in Israel. It shows that as humans, we are all the same. Politics should not divide countries. These people have died as people, not Americans or Israelis or Spaniards. Terrorism unites us all.
Q&A: Artist Bela Fidel on 'World as Ground Zero'
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