U.S. Leads In Foreign Military Sales

WASHINGTON, (UPI) —  More than 75 percent of the legitimate international weapons trade came from U.S. military sales, largely to Persian Gulf allies, a report says.

The Congressional Research Service said more than 75 percent of the weapons traded, or around $66.3 billion, came from sales by the U.S. government, a review of government records from The New York Times reports.

U.S. weapons sales in 2010 were reported at $21.4 billion. Russian arms sales last year came in second at $4.8 billion.

U.S. military assets have been positioned in the Persian Gulf to protect shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz, a key conduit for oil transits from the region.

Patrick Ventrell, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, had said the missile threat to U.S. forces deployed overseas was growing.

“The U.S. will continue to work with our partners in the Middle East to strengthen missile defense in the Persian Gulf,” he said during a recent press briefing.

U.S. Defense Department documents reviewed recently by Times indicate there are plans to send $4.2 billion in advanced missile systems to Kuwait. The United Arab Emirates was the recipient of more than $12 billion in U.S. missile defense programs during the past four years.

Isaac Forces Thousands To Evacuate

MIAMI, (UPI) —  Tropical Storm Isaac, expected to become a hurricane, pointed toward Louisiana Monday and people in three states were told to evacuate.

The storm had New Orleans in the center of its path, officials said.

Governors of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi declared states of emergency and thousands of people were ordered to evacuate.

Authorities said Florida had avoided the worst of Isaac but was still feeling its effects. On Sunday, the Republican National Committee announced the first day of party’s convention in Tampa would be canceled.

The National Hurricane Center declared a hurricane warning for an area stretching from east of Morgan City, La., to Destin, Fla. That arc includes New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordered mandatory evacuations of coastal and low-lying areas to begin at 8 a.m. , CNN reported.

At 5 a.m., the storm was about 180 miles southwest of Fort Myers, Fla., and 405 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It was moving west-northwest at 14 mph.

The hurricane center said the center of Isaac would move over the eastern Gulf of Mexico Monday and approach the northern Gulf Coast Tuesday, by which time the storm is expected to be a Category 2 hurricane with winds 96 to110 mph, Accuweather.com reported.

Tropical storm-force winds extend 240 miles out from the center of the storm.

South Florida was under a tornado watch until 9 a.m. Monday and a flood watch throughout the evening, The Miami Herald reported.

More than 18,000 residents in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties on the state’s east coast were without power Sunday night.

Hundreds of flights had been canceled at South Florida airports.

Along Florida’s west coast, emergency shelters opened in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties surrounding Tampa Bay the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The storm was predicted to drop 2 to 4 inches of rain in the Tampa Bay area by Monday night but Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he was most concerned about how it might affect northern sections of the state, which were still waterlogged from Tropical Storm Debby.

Wednesday is the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast with 145 mph winds, devastating a a region that included New Orleans.

More than 1,700 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of others were displaced by Katrina, which was a Category 3 hurricane. Its storm surge — a 29-foot wall of water — was the highest ever measured in the United States.

Rand Paul Wants Legal Hemp

Senator Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) is currently working to do away with Federal laws that classify industrial hemp in the same way as marijuana, a move that he says would have lasting economic benefits.

Currently, the Federal government effectively prohibits production of the non-hallucinogenic plant that can be used to make products including twine, paper and clothing. Even though 27 States have made some moves to facilitate hemp production, farmers who grow the plants still risk Federal raids.

“The rest of the world can grow hemp and we’re not, so we’re losing out on that product,” Paul said. “You know our farmers are one of the greatest parts of our economy. We do things very well in agriculture. If we would legalize hemp I think we would be one of the leaders of the world. I think we have a chance of passing it.”

Paul presented legislation in the Senate last month — similar to a House bill proposed by his father Ron — that would make it legal for farmers to grow industrial hemp crops.

Hemp advocates contend that by allowing hemp farming, the $400 million industry would lead to “instant job creation.” Pointing out that hemp is widely used in the manufacture of clothing, it was noted recently that President Barack Obama is raising campaign funds by selling a Monique Péan scarf on his website made of 45 percent cotton and 55 percent hemp. The hemp is imported from China.

Obama Campaign Draws Support From Shady Characters

If the Democratic Party endorses the views of its supporters, then Vice President Joe Biden must think rape is a laughing matter and President Barack Obama must think it’s OK to shoot those who interfere with a back-alley drug deal. The Nation’s top leaders recently made appearances with Senator Al Franken and NBA star Carmello Anthony.

Last week, Biden shared the stage with Franken, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer who joked about raping a reporter.

“I give pills to Lesley Stahl. Then, when Lesley’s passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her,” joked Franken, as reported by New York magazine in 1995. “When she passes out, I put her in various positions and take pictures of her.”

Anthony appeared at the “Obama Classic,” a fundraising event attended by some of the biggest names in basketball. In 2004, Anthony was seen in a DVD titled “Stop Snitchin” alongside drug dealers who threatened that anyone who interfered with their enterprise would “get a hole in his head.”

Emotional Survival And Stress Relief In A Disaster

We live in a very unpredictable world. There are so many wars. And there is so much hatred (especially among religions), so much violence, so much rage, so much fear of the government, so much fear of the future, so much fear of losing our money and materialistic possessions, and so much fear of losing our loved ones. How do we make it through tough times? What is it going to take to make mankind realize that we are destroying our planet and the very societies that live on it?

How do we find peace within ourselves and stop animosity between races, religions, cultures and relationships? How do we live in a troubled world and make it a better place? If we revert to living like our forefathers, who lived off the land and promoted peace, we could do our little part in reversing the negative energy and make this world a more peaceful place. If this thought went viral and billions of people read it and caught the vision there would be a new harmony that could save mankind and the planet.

It sounds too good to be true; but if we start now to do our part, then future generations can live in peace.

Personal Responsibility

Taking back our power means taking total responsibility for our own lives. We must never allow ourselves to become victims and blame someone else because something happened to us. We must all be self-reliant, self-sufficient and responsible for ourselves first. We cannot control what others do — only what we do.

Do not make the mistake of thinking the government, the church, your neighbors or family will save you in a crisis. I like to live by the motto “if it is to be, it is up to me.”

How is this done? It starts within every human being. We have no control over anyone other than ourselves. We must be balanced emotionally so we can handle life’s challenges and disasters. If we are balanced within our own selves, we can help others who are in need.

Disasters Happen To Good People

Fear of the future based on the past is what holds us back from moving forward.

Emotional trauma can be caused by any number of events in our lives. It’s not the event that gets the best of us, but how we handle it after it happens that matters.

  • What would you do if a tornado ripped your house apart, and all that was left was a pile of rubble?
  • What if you lose a family member to death?
  • How would you face divorce or a breakup of a relationship?
  • How would you face an economic crash, not knowing where your next meal is coming from or how you will pay your bills?
  • What if the government went bankrupt and no one got their Medicaid, Social Security checks or welfare?
  • What if you had an emergency medical condition that leaves you thousands of dollars in debt and unable to work?
  • What if you or your spouse loses your job or one of your children loses his job and moves home with his spouse and children?
  • What if a fire burns up all our worldly possessions?
  • What if someone harms one of our family members?
  • What if your bank closes its doors and you can’t get out your money?
  • What if your retirement money gets lost in a stock market crash?
  • What if? What if?
  • Can we find it within ourselves to start over?

There are so many unforeseen disasters. Many people I talk to every day are in fear. At least one or more of these things probably will happen to each of us at some point in our lives. I know the government is doing many things that are harming the people. I know there are evil people conspiring to do harm at all costs. We may fall victims to these evil designs, but we will not remain victims.

We can face the future better because of the emotional trauma we have already been through in our lives. We need to know how to handle situations like this. So what do we do when faced with these overwhelming emotions we have inside of us? I am going to give you some simple techniques or processes that will help balance your emotional state in a crisis situation.

Techniques To De-Stress

I am a licensed massage therapist and hypnotherapist, and I have learned many different processes that can calm someone down if they are in stress. Fear is the No. 1 cause of stress in any situation. I believe that if we practice skills of peace and calming that we can face any situation that may occur in our lives.

Take A Deep Breath

Take a deep breath into the lungs and release it. Continue it again and again until you feel the pressure-relief valve letting off steam and releasing the stress. I like to do it lying down in a comfortable position. With every breath I take in, I visualize the pressure of the negative feeling; and as I release the breath, I visualize the stress releasing. Doing this for five minutes straight will bring a peaceful, calming feeling to our souls that will help in a time of crises. It also helps children to calm down when something unpleasant has happened to them. It is a simple form of self-hypnosis. This skill is invaluable in a crises situation because remaining calm is very important. If we can keep our wits about us when others are suffering, we can help others instead of looking for someone to help us.

Tapping PointsTapping To Relieve Stress

There is a tapping technique called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Try this stress-relief technique for any issue that comes up. Use the breathing technique while tapping and repeating the affirmations three times on each part of the body stated.

  1. First state the negative feeling or belief. Write it on a piece of paper, then turn the negative feeling into a positive thought and write it down also. For example: “I am stressed out” turns into “I am calm and peaceful.
  2. Repeat the words “I am calm and peaceful” three times, tapping with your middle three fingers above each eyebrow. Use your right hand above the right eyebrow and your left hand above the left eyebrow. Continue tapping as you repeat the phrase “I am calm and peaceful.” Move to the side of the eye and repeat the process.
  3. Move to the bone just under your eye socket and tap again repeating the same message three times.
  4. Move to the bone under the nose and above the upper lip. Then to the chin bone, tapping under the lower lip. Use both hands as you tap.
  5. Move to just below the collarbones on the chest and tap on both sides. Continuing to repeat “I am calm and peaceful.”
  6. Tap under both armpits and repeat again.
  7. Tap on the inside of each hand, on the side of the palm and below the little finger. By the time you are finished with tapping each position, the message you are repeating will be imprinted in your subconscious mind. You will be amazed at how the stress releases out of the body.

This diagram of the tapping points is courtesy of ThrivingNow.com and joy-connection.com.

If you are interested in any of the books I have written on food storage, self-sufficiency and survival, or if you are interested in ION (stabilized oxygen water treatment), check out my website.

If you are interested in receiving three free sample meals from GoFoods Global to test out the quality of these simply delicious emergency food storage meals that serve four people and require only water and 15 minutes of cooking time, click here.

–Peggy Layton

Don't Waste Your Money

Dear Bob,

Do you participate in or advocate making monthly investments in gold and silver ETFs?

A: No. There is too much potential for fraud. Forbes reported last year:

Regular shareholders have no rights of redemption and the gold is not required to be insured by the Trust, which is not liable for loss, damage, theft, nor fraud.  Shares are bought in the open market, only after Authorized Participants decide to place or sell them.  Therefore a retail investors (sic) doesn’t actually “own” gold, but an asset that is backed by gold and represents a certain quantity of the yellow metal. Skeptics have raised doubts over the trust’s management of its physical gold, with questions over how much is actually held.  HSBC, the custodian, is very secretive regarding its vault.

Don’t waste your money. Buy physical gold and silver and hold it in your possession. Trust no one with it, and tell no one but immediate family you have it.

Best wishes,
Bob

Chicago Values: 13 Shot In 30 Minutes

On July 25, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said, “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.” On Aug. 12, President Barack Obama said, “Chicago is an example of what makes this country great.” On Aug. 24, 13 people were shot in the Windy City over the course of 30 minutes.

In total, 19 people were shot from late Thursday through early Friday morning.

Four men were shot in the Little Village neighborhood about 5:20 p.m.

About 9:30 p.m., eight were shot at 79th Street and Essex Avenue.

Two were shot on East 37th Street at about 9:25 p.m. About the same time, there was a drive-by shooting on West 39th Place.

At about 9:40 p.m., one man was shot on South Jeffrey Boulevard.

Early Friday, a teen was shot on South Vincennes Avenue.

At 1:30 a.m., another teen was shot on West Grenshaw Street.

Since 2001, more than 2,000 troops have been killed in Afghanistan. In the same amount of time, more than 5,000 people in Chicago have died from a gunshot wound.

Is Mitt Fit?

The big bash called the Republican National Convention is set to kick off. If all goes as the party elites have planned, Mitt Romney will be nominated and acclaimed tomorrow (the roll call had been moved up to today “because of concerns about supporters of libertarian Texas Rep. Ron Paul” but Hurricane Isaac interfered) as the country’s salvation from four years of the illegal Obamination that currently despoils the people’s house.

Romney hardly qualifies as a savior — unless what you want to save is big government, ever-growing debt and perpetual war. Beyond the facts that Romney is a natural-born citizen (and there is no proof that the current occupant of the White House is) and there are slight differences in their statist, big government policies, there is little else to differentiate between Romney and the undocumented White House usurper.

To wit: Both believe the government should bail out failing industries; both believe in corporate and agricultural welfare; both support off-shoring American jobs; both support unlimited money printing; both support the notion that government can imprison people without charges or trial; both support government assassinations of Americans; both support weapons bans; both support socialized medicine; both support abortion; both believe in man-caused global warming and support cap-and-trade legislation; both have stated their undying support of Israel; both have advocated pre-emptive war on Syria and Iran and growing the American empire. As President Barack Obama has continued George W. Bush’s nation-destroying-then-rebuilding policies and Romney has employed as advisers much of Bush’s foreign policy team, expect four more years (at least) of war tacked onto the more than 20 we’ve endured in the Mideast.

But the Republican faithful have turned a blind eye to these facts and accepted the party elite’s chosen candidate as well as the elite’s false narrative. The rank and file have also dismissed the ill treatment of the only true conservative in the race, Ron Paul, as well as the ill treatment of his delegates and supporters. But do the rank and file really know who Romney is? And better yet, are they willing to hear the truth and reject Romney while there is still time to replace him with a real conservative who can defeat Obama and change the direction of the country?

In 1984, when Bain Capital was just getting off the ground and struggling to find investors, Romney approached old-money families, including the Rothschilds, for investment in the new venture. Those old-money families turned him down. So Romney went searching for other sources of funding.

In doing so, he began doing business with some nefarious characters, according to the Los Angeles Times. One of them was Sir Jack Lyons, who made a $2.5 million investment through a Panama shell company. Lyons was later convicted of fraud, fined heavily (though spared prison because of ill health) and stripped of his knighthood.

Another British investor of Bain Capital was the publishing baron Robert Maxwell. After Maxwell’s drowning death in 1991, investigators learned Maxwell had stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from his company’s pension funds.

Romney’s Bain partner Harry Strachan suggested other sources of funding with Central American ties. The LA Times quotes a Boston Globe article from 1994 that describes Romney and Bill Bain as being “terrified of bringing in Central Americans” because of “drug money.” But Strachan reassured them so that they approached some of El Salvador’s wealthiest people.

El Salvador was in the midst of a civil war and many of the country’s rich were looking to get their money out of the country. Two of the investors were Francisco R.R. de Sola and his cousin Herbert Arturo de Sola, whose brother Orlando de Sola was suspected by the U.S. State Department and CIA of backing right-wing El Salvadoran death squads, according to now-declassified documents.

Another Bain investor was Jack Hanley, formerly the head of the agricultural terrorist company Monsanto. Hanley invested $1 million. “It seemed like a hell of a smart thing for to do to ride their coattails,” Hanley told the LA Times. “I got rich.”

Romney is a classic crony capitalist, i.e., a fascist, and his ties to Paul Ryan go far beyond tapping him as his Vice Presidential selection. Last week, The Telegraph reported that Romney may have violated ethics laws while Governor of Massachusetts by profiting from a marketing company that was contracted by the State after receiving $5 million from Bain Capital.

Paul Ryan’s brother Tobin was senior manager at Bain from 1995-1998. He left to become vice president of Imagitas, a company co-founded by Bain consultant Tom Beecher. In June 2000, the company got a $5 million investment from Bain. It expanded and began to win contracts with several State governments, including Wisconsin — where Republican and Ryan ally Scott McCallum was Governor — and Massachusetts (a contract that began in 2002, shortly before Romney’s election as Governor and shortly after Tobin Ryan says he left Imagitas).

That work with Massachusetts continued for several years, yet Romney never disclosed the potential conflict of interest. According to The Telegraph, Romney’s 2002 financial disclosure forms state he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital Investors VI and Bain Capital, Inc. But the forms do not detail individual companies like Imagitus, in which Bain Capital was invested.

In 2005, while Romney was still Governor, Imagitus was sold for $230 million.

Victor Fleischer, a law professor at the University of Colorado specializing in private equity, told The Telegraph  it was “possible but unlikely” that Romney could have completely prevented himself from benefiting from Imagitas.

Over the years, Imagitas gave the Republican Governor’s Association, which Romney chaired, a total of $64,825. Former Imagitus board member Glenn Youngkin, a senior executive with The Carlyle Group — an organization with several directors and staffers who are members of the Council on Foreign Relations — has donated $50,000 to the Romney Victory Fund. He has donated more than $16,000 to Ryan’s campaigns since 1999.

Romney’s Abortion Problem

Romney has flopped like a fish on the subject of abortion, changing his stance depending upon which political office he’s seeking. He insists he’s pro-life now, but he refused last year to sign a pro-life pledge for the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life women’s organization. He has since created his own pledge that removed language from the Susan B. Anthony List pledge he didn’t like, and has received the organization’s endorsement.

But in 1999, Bain Capital invested $75 million in Stericycle, a medical-waste disposal firm that disposed of aborted fetuses collected from family-planning clinics. Bain and Romney claim Romney left the firm to run the 2002 Winter Olympics before the Stericycle deal was made. But documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission tell a different story.

Romney is listed as an active participant. According to Mother Jones:

Romney “may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to” 2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle “in his capacity as sole shareholder” of the Bain entities that invested in the company. That was about 11 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm’s stock—the largest bloc among the firm’s owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney.

Another SEC document filed November 30, 1999, by Stericycle also names Romney as an individual who holds “voting and dispositive power” with respect to the stock owned by Bain. If Romney had fully retired from the private equity firm he founded, why would he be the only Bain executive named as the person in control of this large amount of Stericycle stock?

The Allen Stanford Connection

Romney has also been tied to convicted Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, recently sentenced to 110 years in prison in a $7 billion fraud case.

According to The New York Times, about a month after Romney’s 2008 President bid ended, Romney’s son Tagg and top campaign fundraiser Spencer Zwick decided to form a private equity fund and they had a rolodex of deep-pocketed campaign funders to pitch their ideas to. What they didn’t have was private equity experience, so they tapped into the Charlotte office of Stanford Financial Group (SFG) — which had been closed by Federal regulators for selling sham certificates of deposit — and used $10 million in seed money from the Romney family to invest in one part of SFG’s business called Solamere Capital.

The Times reports that Solamere executives claim the group had only been with SFG a short time and knew nothing of the fraud, even though they earned commissions and bonuses from the sale of fraudulent CDs. But the court-appointed receiver for SFG has filed a Federal lawsuit that claims the former SFG employees ignored warning signs of the fraud. He is seeking to recover money from them.

Despite Tagg Romney’s claims to the contrary, an investigation into at least three principals of Solamere who came from SFG is ongoing.

Foreign Funds And More Shady Characters

And then there’s Romney’s foreign fundraising problem. In late July, Romney went to Israel where he held several fundraisers — without collecting paperwork from the donors and most without the presence of journalists — and promised in speeches to back an Israeli strike on Iran.

In January, the Supreme Court issued an order that upheld prohibitions against foreigners making contributions to influence American elections. It stated, “Foreign nationals, other than lawful permanent residents, are completely banned from donating to candidates or parties, or making independent expenditures in federal, state or local elections.”

Veterans Today writes Romney was “personally campaigning outside the US, soliciting foreign citizens, and humiliating himself and his country with his ignorance and flagrant attempts to trade illegal cash for promises of illegal war. One could hardly break more laws if one wanted.”

The Washington Post said the fundraiser — which included Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson — involved about 40 donors who were U.S. citizens, many of whom flew in to attend the event. But there was no filming or photographs allowed and no IDs were checked.

VT also reports that Romney and Adelson met with a group of large donors from the Russian Jewish community who flew in from Moscow.

Adelson is currently being investigated by Federal and Nevada investigators for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act over an investment in Macau.

In addition to his Israel trip, Romney has also held several campaign fundraisers in England.

It seems that Republicans are now faced with three choices. First, they can shove their heads into the sand at the Tampa, Fla., beaches and pretend that all is well with their candidate, telling themselves all the while they are voting for the “lesser of two evils.”

Or they can look into this and other evidence and determine that Romney’s not the answer for the Nation’s problems and demand a new candidate be selected at the convention: preferably Ron Paul. For this route, time is short; and it’s been made shorter by even more last-minute dirty tricks by the Republican elites.

Or, as I suspect will happen, they can ignore it all and instead unleash a stream of ad hominems and fallacies, shooting the messenger by imputing all manner of nefarious pro-Obama motives to Personal Liberty Digest™ and me while they la-de-da themselves all the way to either a November defeat or, if Romney wins, a Nixonian fall later on.

Cue the slur machine. Three, two, one…

Golden Platform Additions For GOP

A return to the gold standard in American currency is something that has been constantly cited by Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul as a viable option to help the dollar reclaim its strength. Despite mainstream politicos writing off Paul’s economic ideas as kooky, the GOP is set to make at least investigating a gold standard part of the Party platform.

According to CNBC, drafts of the Republican Party platform, which will be adopted at the convention this week, include provisions for setting up a commission that would investigate the effects of a return to the gold standard. There is also a call for an audit of the Federal Reserve, another of Paul’s utmost goals.

The commission would only have the power to make recommendations, but could serve to educate politicians and the public about the pros and cons of a return to gold.

“There is a growing recognition within the Republican Party and in America more generally that we’re not going to be able to print our way to prosperity,” Sean Fieler, chairman of the American Principles Project, told Financial Times.

In the Republican platforms of both 1980 and 1984, gold was mentioned as a possible way to improve American economic affairs. And in 1981, President Ronald Reagan created a commission to examine the possibility of returning to a gold standard. It has not been part of the Republican Party platform since.

Robot To Take 'Self-Awareness' Test

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (UPI) — A robot developed by scientists at Yale University in Connecticut could soon pass a landmark test by recognizing itself in a mirror, the researchers say.

Such a feat would be considered evidence of self-awareness and represent an advance toward robots that can think for themselves, they said.

The robot, dubbed Nico, will take the test in coming months, Justin Hart, the doctoral student leading the research, told BBC News.

“It is a spatial reasoning task for the robot to understand that its arm is on it, not on the other side of the mirror,” he said.

While Nico has been programmed to recognize a reflection of its arm, Hart said, it still has to pass the “full mirror test,” developed in 1970 and considered the classic test of self-awareness.

The test is more usually performed on an animal that is allowed time to get used to the mirror and is then anesthetized while an odorless dye is applied to its face. The creature’s subsequent reaction to its reflection is deemed a measure of its self-awareness, determined by whether the animal inspects the mark on its own body or reacts as if it is only on the “mirror” animal but not on itself.

Only a few non-human species — including some primates, elephants and dolphins — have managed to pass the mirror “self-awareness” test, the researchers said.

City Winds Can Concentrate Pollutants

TEMPE, Ariz. (UPI) — Wind patterns in cities can concentrate pollutants like exhaust particles and diesel fumes in specific regions in an urban environment, U.S. researchers say.

Seemingly chaotic and often powerful wind patterns known as urban flows, created by cities’ concrete canyons, isolated greenery and congested traffic, can accumulate pollutant particles in specific areas of the urban environment rather than scatter them randomly, the scientists report in the American Institute of Physics journal Physics of Fluids.

Using a new mathematical formula to simulate the long-term random motion of pollutant particles, researchers were able to verify the phenomenon.

“The unexpected finding is coherent patterns in fluid flows were thought to have no real analog in nature,” Wenbo Tang of Arizona State University said. “In previous studies, the existence of these patterns in fluid flows was only verified with idealized ‘theoretical’ flows. It was not known if such structures were robust enough to manifest in the environment.”

Researchers said their findings could be used to generate maps of well and poorly mixed regions and highlight urban areas most susceptible to high concentrations of pollutants.

Native Plants In Yards Benefit Birds

PHOENIX (UPI) — Urban yards featuring plants native to the area can offer birds “mini-refuges” and help to offset losses of biodiversity in cities, a U.S. study found.

Traditional grass lawns and non-native plantings don’t support local birds as well as “native” yards, the research published in the journal PLOS ONE said.

Conducted through the National Science Foundation’s Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research center, the study looked at residential landscape types and native bird communities in Phoenix.

“To a desert bird, what’s green is not necessarily good,” said Doug Levey, program director in the NSF’s Division of Environmental Biology.

“Arizona birds don’t view lush urban landscapes as desert oases. The foraging behavior of birds in greener yards suggests that there’s less food for them there than in yards with more natural vegetation.”

Desert-like, or xeric, yards had a more even bird community and superior habitat compared with moist, or mesic, grass lawns, the researchers said.

“We already know that bird communities differ, and that there are more desert birds found in a desert-type yard,” researcher Susannah Lerman of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst said.

Gulf 'Dead Zone' Shrinking From Drought

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (UPI) — The worst drought in the United States in 50 years has one bright side, a researcher says, creating the smallest “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico in years.

Texas A&M University oceanography Professor Steve DiMarco says he and other researchers analyzed the gulf from Aug. 15-21 during a 1,200-mile cruise from Texas to Louisiana.

The team found no hypoxia off the Texas coast while only finding hypoxia near the Mississippi River delta on the Louisiana coast, a Texas A&M release reported Thursday.

Hypoxia is when oxygen levels in seawater drop to levels that can potentially result in fish kills and harm marine life.

Agricultural run-off of fertilizers and pesticide into rivers that run into the gulf are often cited as the cause of such “dead zones,” researchers said.

“In all, we found about 1,580 square miles of hypoxia compared to about 3,400 square miles in August 2011,” DiMarco said.

“What has happened is that the drought has caused very little fresh-water runoff and nutrient load into the gulf and that means a smaller region for marine life to be impacted.”

During the past five years the dead zone has averaged about 5,700 square miles and has reached as high as 9,400 square miles, the researchers said.

Glacier's Movement Offers Earthquake Clues

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (UPI) — Repeating earthquakes in an Antarctic ice sheet may shed light on both glacial movement and on earthquakes like those on the San Andreas fault, researchers say.

They analyzed seismic activity recorded on the David Glacier in Antarctica from 2002 to 2003 and found the local earthquakes, about 20,000 of them, were predominantly the same and occurred every 25 minutes, give or take 5 minutes.

“No one has ever seen anything with such regularity,” said Lucas K. Zoet, who participated in the research while at Penn State and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Iowa State University. “An earthquake every 25 minutes for a year.”

The earthquakes result from the glacier repeatedly rupturing as it passes over a half-mile diameter hill poking up from the bedrock underneath, the researchers suggest.

That creates a so-called “stick/slip” situation much like that on the San Andreas fault, as the ice sticks on the hill and stress gradually builds until the energy behind the obstruction is high enough to move the ice forward, a Penn State release said Thursday.

That occurs in a step-by-step manner rather than smoothly, resulting in the regularly repeating earthquakes, they said.

The findings can provide a simple model for the stick/slip earthquakes that occur between landmasses, Penn State geosciences Professor Richard B. Alley said.

“We have not completely explained how ice sheets flow unless we can reproduce this effect,” he said. “We can use this as a probe and look into the physics so we better understand how glaciers move.”

Moderate Exercise Lowers Hypertension Risk

COLUMBIA, S.C. (UPI) — Physically inactive children who have a parent with high blood pressure are at a 70 percent greater risk than others of hypertension, a U.S. researcher says.

Robin Shook of the University of South Carolina said the study found being even moderately active reduced the risk of high blood pressure. Shook and colleagues analyzed almost five years of data involving about 6,000 people, one-third of whom said a parent had high blood pressure.

The study, published in the journal Hypertension, found inactive people with a family history had a 70 percent higher risk of developing high blood pressure, or hypertension, than fit people with no similar family history.

“Regular physical activity will reduce your risk of developing hypertension if you have a family history of hypertension,” Shook said in a statement.

Mothers Selective On Children's Caregiving

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (UPI) — Most mothers who rely on children for care have a preference for which child they turn to in a crisis, confide in or prefer as caregiver, U.S. researchers say.

Research by Megan Gilligan, a Purdue University doctoral student, and Jill Suitor, a professor of sociology, found older mothers were more likely to be stressed when they received help from an adult child not their preferred caregiver.

“When mothers received care from the adult child who was not their first choice, they reported more depressive symptoms, such as sadness, loneliness and sleep disturbances,” Suitor said in a statement. “Although mothers appreciated and acknowledged efforts from caregivers who were not their first choices, these children were less likely to share the mothers’ values and to have the personal characteristics important to the mothers in selecting preferred caregivers. This incompatibility can have some strong negative effects.”

Receiving care from a mother’s preferred child did not affect the mom’s psychological well-being, the researchers said.

“We expected having that preferred child care for a parent would make a positive difference, but surprisingly it didn’t,” Suitor said. “And we also found that mothers’ depressive symptoms were higher when they received care from the non-preferred child than when they received no care from their offspring.”

The study, published online in The Gerontologist, found being cared for by a non-preferred child was stressful because the alternate caregivers did not possess the social and emotional characteristics mothers expected.

Cocoa May Help Aging Brain Function

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (UPI) — People who ate high or moderate levels of cocoa flavanols for two months improved significantly in some thinking assessment tests, a U.S. food expert says.

“A study in the journal Hypertension found elderly people with mild cognitive impairment given dietary flavanols from chocolate did better on cognition tests,” Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of supermarketguru.com, said in a statement. “They also experienced a decrease in insulin resistance, which helps regulate blood sugar, as well as improvements in blood pressure, compared with those who consumed only small amounts.”

Flavanols are a type of flavonoid — the phytochemical associated with the many health benefits of cocoa, Lempert said.

A variety of research projects demonstrate cocoa’s health benefits but it’s important to understand that not all chocolate products are the same, Lempert said.

“All chocolate contains some flavonoids, but it is important to choose minimally processed dark chocolate with a cacao content upwards of 70 percent,” Lempert said. “The higher the cocoa percentage, the more flavanols and antioxidants it contains. You can also purchase cacao or cocoa powder that can be used in a variety of ways.”

A Kodak Moment Set To Fade Away

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (UPI) — Bankrupt camera pioneer Eastman Kodak in New York said it would sell its core film business units, including its film products and its processing kiosks.

“We are reshaping Kodak,” Chairman and Chief Executive Antonio Perez said in a statement.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection in January, as it has failed to establish its presence in the digital image market, like it did in the previous era of photography.

Kodak said it expects the sale of its film units to be complete mid-2013. It didn’t reveal a potential price for its film divisions.

Kodak is attempting to reinvent itself, mostly as a company that makes printers.

“We continue to rebalance our company toward commercial, packaging and functional printing,” Perez said.

Selling its film businesses is one of a series of steps meant to reshape the company.

It is certain to dethrone the company’s status as the worldwide image king.

“The company’s ubiquity was such that its tagline ‘Kodak moment’ entered common lexicon as a personal event that demanded to be recorded for posterity,” part of a Wikipedia entry says.

The next steps include “continued cost-reduction initiatives, curtailment of its legacy liabilities, and the monetization of the company’s digital imaging patent portfolio, will be significant milestones toward completing the company’s reorganization and emergence from Chapter 11,” Kodak said in a news release.

Durable Goods Orders Up 4.2 Percent

WASHINGTON, N.Y. (UPI) — The Commerce Department said U.S. durable goods orders rose 4.2 percent in July, a much higher gain than economists’ expectations.

After a seemingly healthy gain of 1.6 percent in June, economists forecast another 1.6 percent rise for July.

New orders in June rose to $230.7 billion, pushed by a $9.9 billion or 14.1 percent increase in transportation equipment orders, which rose from $68.8 billion in June to $80.4 billion in July.

Excluding transportation, new factory orders for durable goods dropped 0.4 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 5.7 percent.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods rose for the seventh month in the past eight, climbing 2.6 percent or by $5.9 billion to $231.1 billion, reaching the highest level since accounting methods were switched to the North American Industry Classification System or NAICS.

Ron Paul Tribute Set For GOP Convention

TAMPA, Fla., (UPI) —  Former presidential candidate Ron Paul will be honored at the Republican National Convention with a short tribute film, a campaign strategist said Friday.

The presentation on the second night of the convention will feature the libertarian-leaning Paul’s colleagues giving “testimony to his principles and dedication to America,” said strategist Russ Schriefer.

As Mitt Romney prepares to accept the Republican nomination at the convention in Tampa, Fla., next week, there have been concerns the several hundred delegates committed to Paul will complicate the process and offer a picture of a political party not completely unified, CBS News said Friday.

CBS said the Paul film will attempt to illustrate Romney’s partnership with Paul and his supporters.

Man Following GPS Drives Car Into Harbor

WHITTIER, Alaska,  (UPI) —  Officials in an Alaskan town said a man unfamiliar with the area drove his car into a harbor on the advice of his GPS unit and survived along with his two dogs.

Dave Schofield, director of  the Whittier Department of Public Safety, said the man, moving to Alaska from another state, took a right turn into the town’s small boat harbor about 400 feet after driving off a ferry, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported Friday.

“The GPS apparently misrouted him and he drove down the ramp for launching boats into the water,” Schofield said. “He was unfamiliar with the area is the only answer I have for you.”

A witness jumped into the water and smashed one of the car’s windows, allowing the man and his two dogs to escape, but a cat in a pet carrier did not survive.

Schofield said a towing company pulled the car from the water.

“It was a first for us,” Schofield said.