$1.2 Million Cash Stolen From Plane’s Cargo Container

NEW YORK (UPI) — Port Authority detectives are investigating the theft of $1.2 million in cash from a Swissair flight that landed at JFK Airport in New York City.

Authorities didn’t disclose where the jet had come from but said upon landing at JFK Monday, they found a bag that should have contained the money empty inside the external cargo container.

The New York Post said detectives are trying to determine when the thief gained access to the cargo container — at JFK after the flight landed or prior to the flight’s departure. The cargo container showed no signs of forced entry suggesting the theft may have taken place before the plane took off, the Post said.

Detectives are also investigating whether a mechanic, member of the flight crew or another airport worker might have had access to the area to steal the money.

No More Sunshine And Butterflies: NSA Fallout Broadsides Lib Lawmakers

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has had a pretty fail-safe formula for “preaching to the choir” speaking engagements over the past few years: Praise President Barack Obama, demonize conservatives and talk about rainbows, butterflies, abortion and homosexuality.

But revelations that the National Security Agency is spying on Americans is “gumming up the works” for liberals like Pelosi. She is increasingly being met by crowds of liberals angry that Obama’s tactics pretty much destroy the idea of leftist utopia.

“He did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents,” Pelosi said of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, addressing attendees of the annual Netroots National conference of liberal Internet activists. “We have to have a balance between security and privacy.”

She then moved to make the case to liberal supporters that Obama’s spying is somehow more noble than George W. Bush’s.

“People on the far right are saying oh, this is the fourth term of President Bush,” Pelosi said. “Absolutely, positively not so.”

The Democrat veteran lawmaker was promptly met with a barrage of shouts from the crowd in support of Snowden and the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s not a balance. It’s not Constitutional!” one attendee shouted before being removed. “No secret laws!”

And a chant could be heard emerging from the audience, “Leave him alone! Secrets and lies! No secret courts! Protect the 1st Amendment.”

As the event organizers attempted to quiet the crowd, the verbal jibes continued.

One man in attendance shouted at Pelosi what conservatives have been shouting at her for years, “You suck!”

IRS Handed Out Tax Dollars To Friends

Each year, American taxpayers file paperwork to the Internal Revenue Service declaring earnings, expenditures and write-offs; they then send the filings off to the tax agency and hope they aren’t subject to an audit. But when no one is watching the watcher, power is abused.

House investigators reveal in a recent report that one businessman’s friendship with an IRS official allowed him to accrue $500 million in taxpayer-funded Federal contracts.

“Today, the IRS cannot look taxpayers in the eye and truthfully say they are protecting their contributions to government,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa said in a statement. “By inappropriately using a personal relationship and abusing a provision designed to help disadvantaged businesses, the IRS and Strong Castle have made a mockery of fair and open competition for government contracts. Taxpayers deserve accountability and the Committee is troubled by this unacceptable behavior.”

Braulio Castillo, owner of Signet Computers, is accused of using his friendship with an IRS contracting official to secure the contracts. He denies any wrongdoing.

However, in a letter to Treasury officials, Issa said of the relationship between Castillo and the IRS employee: “At best, this is a conflict of interest that runs afoul of Part 3 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. At worst, the IRS may have a situation in which a contracting official is awarding sole source contracts based on false justifications, or receiving kickbacks in exchange for government contracts.”

Benghazi Subpoenas; Obama’s Climate War; Kerry’s Replacement; The Elusive Snowden; Pork Bullets Send Martyrs To Hell — Monday Morning News Roundup 6-24-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories making the Internet rounds this morning. Click the links for the full stories.

  • House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who’s investigating last year’s terror attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, has subpoenaed four State Department officials, saying the department was stalling on efforts to interview them. Source: Washington Times…
  • President Barack Obama is launching fresh battles over climate change with plans to curb emissions using executive powers that sidestep Congress — including controversial rules to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants. Source: The Hill…
  • Democratic U.S. Representative Edward Markey and Republican Gabriel Gomez face off today in a special election to determine a successor to John Kerry, who left the Senate to lead the Obama Administration’s cabinet as Secretary of State. The race appears to be Markey’s to lose. Source: Reuters…
  • Russia’s foreign minister has said the surveillance whistle-blower Edward Snowden never crossed the border into the country, deepening the mystery over his suspected flight from Hong Kong. Source: The Guardian…
  • An Idaho ammunition manufacturer has developed “Jihawg,” a new line of pork-laced bullets they hope will fight against Islamic terrorists — and keep them from going to heaven. “With Jihawg Ammo, you don’t just kill an Islamist terrorist, you also send him to hell. That should give would-be martyrs something to think about before they launch an attack.” Source: CBS Seattle…

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

What Recovery? 7 Of 10 Americans Live Paycheck To Paycheck

Savings rates among American families have remained stagnant over the duration of America’s supposed recovery from the 2008 recession, and most people live paycheck to paycheck, with virtually no cash on hand to see them through an emergency.

That’s the not-so-surprising news arising from Monday’s analysis of a recent survey by Bankrate.

The survey found that 71 percent of Americans don’t have enough money in savings to weather a six-month emergency’s worth of living expenses, 50 percent have no more than three months’ worth of savings, and 27 percent have no savings at all.

Senior Financial Analyst Greg McBride said there’s a strange dichotomy separating Americans’ relative optimism concerning their net worth, job security and progress toward retirement from the reality of chronic paycheck-to-paycheck living:

Just one in five Americans feels their overall financial situation is worse now than one year ago… [But]Americans continue to express discomfort with their level of savings.

And it’s no wonder, looking at the lack of progress Americans have made in establishing an adequate savings cushion. Just 24 percent of Americans have enough savings to cover six months’ worth of expenses — comparatively unchanged since 2011 and 2012. At the other end of the spectrum are the 27 percent of Americans that have no emergency savings whatsoever, further highlighting how little progress Americans have made in moving the needle on emergency savings.

Aside from exaggerated proclamations from President Barack Obama that the U.S. is on a strong track toward a full economic “recovery,” part of the reason for sluggish savings can be attributed to some families’ focus, during the post-recession years, of getting out of the red before even thinking about getting into the black. Many are still whittling away at debts, according to financial planner Richard T. Fight, and others are simply still in paycheck-to-paycheck mode after blowing through their savings when the recession claimed their jobs or forced them into an unexpected retirement.

“Three months’ worth of expenses is hard to think about when you’ve been trying to find work for so long,” he told Bankrate. “People who [are] unemployed or underemployed are just trying to get by.”

It’s worth noting, also, that the survey doesn’t clarify whether it considers government-backed income replacement funds like SNAP cards, subsidized student loans and Pell grants, unemployment and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) as income in its survey methodology.

‘Flu’ Has Little To Do With Influenza

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration are nothing more than taxpayer-funded marketing arms for the medical industrial complex. They are used to provide government-sanctioned legitimacy to a host of fake “diseases” created in labs along with their cures: expensive pharmaceuticals and tests for diagnosis.

The CDC foists upon the public disinformation like this: “CDC estimates that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.” As the CDC believes that 3,000 to 49,000 annual deaths in a country with more than 313 million people is a travesty, it recommends everyone above age 6 should get the flu vaccine each year. It claims that the vaccine prevents flu 50 percent to 70 percent of the time.

Notice the use of the words “flu-associated deaths.” That’s because the CDC adds pneumonia deaths as if the flu is the sole cause of pneumonia. But as Peter Doshi, Ph.D., revealed in a 2005 report published in the British Medical Journal, actual annual flu deaths are measured in the dozens, not the thousands. From his report:

“[I]nfluenza and pneumonia” took 62,034 lives in 2001–61,777 of which were attributable to pneumonia and 257 to flu, and in only 18 cases was the flu virus positively identified.

In other words, the influenza virus was actually present in only 18 of 62,034 deaths attributed to both influenza and pneumonia.

Now Doshi has new published research in the BMJ in which he has found that in the hundreds of thousands of respiratory samples taken each year from flu patients in the United States and tested in labs, only 16 percent test positive for the influenza virus. It turns out that most flu cases are actually caused by bacteria or fungus or any of a number of other things except the influenza virus being blamed.

Doshi writes:

But perhaps the cleverest aspect of the influenza marketing strategy surrounds the claim that “flu” and “influenza” are the same. The distinction seems subtle, and purely semantic. But general lack of awareness of the difference might be the primary reason few people realize that even the ideal influenza vaccine, matched perfectly to circulating strains of wild influenza and capable of stopping all influenza viruses, can only deal with a small part of the “flu” problem because most “flu” appears to have nothing to do with influenza. Every year, hundreds of thousands of respiratory specimens are tested across the US. Of those tested, on average 16% are found to be influenza positive.

The best preventative for the flu is adequate levels of vitamin D3.

International Community Rejects American Hegemony In Efforts To Capture Snowden

With regard to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, it looks like the United States’ international hegemonic policies have encouraged a number of foreign leaders to question the Nation’s dedication to justice and resist calls to turn the whistle-blower over to U.S. authorities.

There is a noticeable disconnect between what U.S. officials say on the international stage about the need to protect whistle-blowers and dissidents, and how officials go about dealing with people who engage in those activities at home.

As of Monday, Russian and Ecuadorian officials were in close contact discussing options for providing asylum from U.S. prosecution to Snowden, who traveled to Russia at the invitation of government officials over the weekend.

The Administration of President Barack Obama, a bipartisan troop of American establishment lawmakers and U.S. prosecutors have already declared Snowden a traitor and charged him with spying under the outdated Espionage Act of 1917. Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino asked a question Monday that is likely on the minds of most average Americans: Has Snowden really betrayed average Americans and their safety, or did he simply ruffle the feathers of the Nation’s powerful elite?

Ecuador is considering offering Snowden permanent asylum, questioning whether the whistle-blower has any real chance of receiving a fair trial in his home country. The nation’s leaders say they feel compelled to offer Snowden asylum because they operate under a policy of placing human rights before the interests of any party. Furthermore, Ecuadorian officials say it doesn’t make sense that a man who revealed rights abuses would face prosecution from the alleged abusers.

“It should be asked, who betrayed whom,” Patino stressed, as he questioned calling Snowden’s leak “treason.”

“Is this betraying the citizens of the world, or betraying some elites that are in power in a certain country?” the Minister pondered.

In making his case for asylum to the international community, Snowden has plenty of examples to strengthen his argument. He has frequently referenced the Federal government’s treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning leading up to his court martial for leaking Army documents to Wikileaks. That leak turned international opinion strongly against the United States, as it highlighted possible war crimes at the hands of American soldiers.

“It is unlikely that I will have a fair trial or humane treatment before trial, and also I have the risk of life imprisonment or death,” Snowden said in his asylum bid.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department has doubled down on portraying Snowden as a traitor. Secretary of State John Kerry chided nations that have helped Snowden evade U.S. officials.

“There would be without any question some effect and impact on the relationship” with the United States if foreign actions were helping the whistle-blower skirt American prosecution.

“There is a surrender treaty with Hong Kong and, if there was adequate notice, I don’t know yet what the communication status was, but if there was, it would be very disappointing if he was willfully allowed to board an airplane as a result,” Kerry said. “With respect to Russia, likewise.”

As for Ecuador, officials in the nation appear poised to reject U.S. efforts to prosecute Snowden as well.

“The relationship between the U.S. and Ecuador should be based on respect for the sovereignty of both countries and our actions are founded on our principles. We consider the consequences of our decisions, but we act in the name of our principles,” said Patino.

Teachers’ Union Boss: Gun Lovers Are Going To Hell

If you are a 2nd Amendment supporter, you better hope your child’s teacher isn’t taking notes from the heads of America’s educators’ unions.

The vice president of the National Education Association (NEA) made an outrageous statement Friday about 2nd Amendment supporters: She outright condemned them to hell.

Speaking before a gathering of liberal activists who convened for the Netroots Nation convention, NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen Garcia said of politicians and lobbyists working to promote gun rights: “I’m not an ordained minister; I’m not a theologian, but these guys are going to hell.”

Garcia was speaking on a panel called “Not Another Newtown: Building a Movement to Prevent Gun Violence,” a discussion aimed at teaching liberal activists the best tactics for pressuring lawmakers into passing stricter gun laws.

“We have to make those Senators as frightened of us as they are of the gun lobby,” she said. “Shame on us if we give one inch to the gun lobby. They got where they are because they never give up. … Now the movement is us; we are the ones we were waiting for.”

The NEA and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are two education-affiliated groups who have made a continual effort to reignite legislative efforts to pass stricter gun-control laws, despite the death of a Senate gun-control effort in April.

AFT President Randi Weingarten told the gathering of 3,000 liberal activists that the anti-gun crowd should take note of the success the homosexual lobby and immigration advocates have by making the issue personal.

“When people see faces and when they are impacted individually, it changes minds,” she said, according to Mercury News.

On her NEA blog, Garcia gives an example of the mindset of the educator unions, writing:

They have built over the years an army of politicians – local, state and national – who either inexplicably agree with Any Gun to Anyone or who conveniently agree to be quiet and not ask inconvenient questions. This army of politicians trumped 90% of Americans. For my friend, the handwriting was on the wall. Defeat. How sad. Give up.

Here is why we will not: Babies died. Our sons and daughters and grandchildren died. Our neighbors and relatives died. We won’t give up because silence means it will happen again. It means it could get worse. There are serious and idiotic debates on whether to arm teachers and train them for shoot-outs in the hall because the gun lobby’s answers to gun violence always involve selling more guns to Anybody to prepare for the next inevitable tragedy.

Their answers never involve preventing the next inevitable tragedy, but the next tragedy is inevitable only if those 90% of Americans fail to act.

The increasing vigor with which the Nation’s teachers’ unions are calling for stricter gun-control laws could explain the uptick in reports involving teachers going to great lengths to make guns seem evil in the classroom — even those of the orange-tipped plastic, gestural or chewed-out-of-a-pastry varieties.

The Bill Of Rights: An Updating

Congress of Liberals

Begun and held on board Warren Buffett’s private jet, on a day that is none of your business, peon.

The Conventions of a number of the Democrats, having at the time of their abrogating the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent protection by or use of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public obedience to the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

Resolved by the President and his accomplices against the United States of America, in smoky back rooms assembled, two thirds of both Houses ignored, that the following Articles be imposed on the People of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three or four Democrats, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

Articles in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by liberal hate groups, and ratified by the New York Times editorial board, pursuant to the Communist Manifesto and Rules for Radicals.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion other than the worship of its authority, or allowing the free exercise thereof; or promoting the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being a threat to the security of the Democrats, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be permitted.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, unless the house belongs to someone who didn’t vote for the President.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, unless Harry Reid heard from some guy that they didn’t pay their “fair share.”

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury or the Attorney General, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger, or in the event that person has demonstrated resistance to the President and the Democrats; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, unless that offence involves aforementioned resistance; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, unless the National Security Agency catches them reading Personal Liberty Digest™, or watching FOX News, or buying a copy of Atlas Shrugged, or attending a Tea Party rally; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation, unless a real estate developer determines it would be a good location for a shopping center or homeless shelter or ACORN office.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed guilty by a partisan jury of the corporate media; unless the accused is a cop-killer, or islamofascist terrorist, or a union thug, or might otherwise be considered really cool by the Democrats, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation via notice broadcast on MSNBC or uploaded to the Huffington Post; to be berated by Code Pink; to be mocked by Bill Maher when he’s not enumerating his “mommy issues,” and to be burned in effigy by the Occupy fleabags.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, as long as the American Trial Lawyers’ Association can make an easy buck off it.

Amendment VIII

The People will pay what the government tells them; and will thank the Government for the privilege.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the President.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the President by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the President, are reserved to the President, or to Hillary Clinton.

–Ben Crystal

SCOTUS Punts On Affirmative Action; Clarence Thomas Calls Practice ‘A Nonstarter’

The U.S. Supreme Court was expected to hand down a landmark decision Monday, one that would determine the fate of affirmative action in America.

Instead, it took no action and remanded the case back to a lower court, opining that a university’s admissions practices weren’t properly vetted by the lower court and that, in reconsidering the case, the lower court should examine the process correctly — instead of “deferring to the University’s good faith,” as Chief Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

The decision doesn’t have the effect of endorsing or repealing affirmative action, but it does suggest the Supreme Court is stocked with justices who, if a merits case appeared before them, would favor ending the 48-year-old practice.

In his opinion Monday, Justice Clarence Thomas went beyond that hypothetical, letting it be known that he clearly believes there’s no place in America for institutionalized racial favoritism. He revisited his minority opinion of the 2003 case of Grutter v. Bollinger, in which the court upheld another university’s affirmative action admissions practices:

I write separately to explain that I would overrule Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U. S. 306 (2003), and hold that a State’s use of race in higher education admissions decisions is categorically prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause…Attaining diversity for its own sake is a nonstarter. As even Grutter recognized, the pursuit of diversity as an end is nothing more than impermissible “racial balancing.” … Rather, diversity can only be the means by which the University obtains educational benefits; it cannot be an end pursued for its own sake. Therefore, the educational benefits allegedly produced by diversity must rise to the level of a compelling state interest in order for the program to survive strict scrutiny.

…It is also noteworthy that, in our desegregation cases, we rejected arguments that are virtually identical to those advanced by the University today. The University asserts, for instance, that the diversity obtained through its discriminatory admissions program prepares its students to become leaders in a diverse society… The segregationists likewise defended segregation on the ground that it provided more leadership opportunities for blacks.

Monday’s case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, involved a white woman who was denied admission to the university and sued on the grounds of racial discrimination, arguing that other less-qualified minority students had been admitted ahead of her, thanks to affirmative action.

Instead of delivering a seismic ruling that favored either the plaintiff or the university, the Supreme Court essentially interjected the court system into future affirmative action policies at universities by asserting that schools must apply “strict scrutiny” in justifying the role racial background is to play in the admissions process. As Amy Howe explained the ruling Monday on SCOTUS blog:

The Court in Fisher took pains to make clear exactly what this means:  courts can no longer simply rubber-stamp a university’s determination that it needs to use affirmative action to have a diverse student body.  Instead, courts themselves will need to confirm that the use of race is “necessary” — that is, that there is no other realistic alternative that does not use race that would also create a diverse student body.  Because the lower court had not done so, the Court sent the case back for it to determine whether the university could make this showing.

America Goes South

By the time you read this, our redoubtable defenders of freedom in the U.S. Senate will have voted on whether to turn the illegal immigration spigot from “steady stream” to “build an ark.” Though my deadline arrived before the vote on the nearly 1200-page behemoth of bureaucracy, I doubt I’m treading on thin ice by guessing the Senate voted “si.”

Of course in doing so, the vaunted 100 is essentially telling those of us who’ve been paying them those fabulous six-figure salaries: “Vaya con Dios.” Putting aside the ludicrous attempts by amnesty fans to smear amnesty opponents as racist and the rather obvious desire of the Democrats to fill the voter rolls with 30 million or so of the best ballots Obamaphones can buy, take a moment to consider the total impact of granting unearned citizenship to millions of illegal aliens.

In the sort of coincidence that would make a bad sitcom writer sweaty, our new neighbors will be swarming out from under the refrigerator of illegal alien status at nearly the same moment the abominable Obamacare begins dismantling our healthcare system from the inside out. With Obamacare — about which virtually every statement President Barack Obama and his accomplices made was an outright lie — already thinning the ranks of physicians and jacking up premiums nationwide, the influx of newly legal consumers by the burro-load will kick the legs out of an already wobbly operating table. More people + fewer providers = a personal injury lawyer’s fantasyland. And as pretty much everyone with a soul knows, a personal injury lawyer’s fantasyland is a nightmare for the rest of us.

One of the talking points the Democrats and their weak-kneed Republican enablers have deployed in a an effort to distract from the ill-conceived idea of granting amnesty to illegal aliens entails demanding a renewal of investment in a supposedly crumbling national infrastructure. I’m certainly a fan of bridges not crumbling while I’m driving across them, but I hardly see how adding every Tomas, Diego and Hernando in the Western Hemisphere to the traffic load on the 405 will help.

One would presume that the newest members of the potential workforce might want food, clothing and shelter. Either they’ll get it by pursuing jobs that don’t involve trimming the hedges at Stephen Spielberg’s Malibu estate, or they’ll follow their fellow low-information Democratic voters onto the welfare rolls. As a result, either competition for jobs will progress from the usual permanent recession Obama has imposed on the Nation, or the average taxpayer will be forced to carry an even heavier burden of layabouts and loafers. On top of that, the appetite of a government expanded to meet the requirements of a 10 percent jump in the legal population will grow exponentially larger, demanding an ever-expanding portion of the legitimate workforce’s paycheck.

Beyond taking a wrecking ball to America’s healthcare, infrastructure and economy, the flood of illegal aliens will exact a massive toll across the board. Imagine millions upon millions more schoolchildren, teenage drivers, customers at the grocery store and senior citizens vying for the early-bird special at the Kountry Kookin’ Kitchen buffet.

One way or another, by granting illegal aliens and illegal aliens-to-be a free pass to the front of the line, our Senators guarantee we all end up begging for scraps from the government that chained us up in the first place.

On the plus side, there’s likely to be real estate going cheap in Mexico.

–Ben Crystal

Study: Plants Do Long Division To Stretch Food Supply Overnight

NORWICH, England (UPI) — To avoid starvation at night, plants do arithmetic — division to be exact — so their starch reserves last until dawn, British researchers say.

During the day plants feed themselves by using energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide into sugars and starch, then through the night must depend on their store of starch to prevent starvation.

Plants make precise adjustments to their rate of starch consumption to ensure the starch store lasts until dawn even if the size of the starch store varies from night to night, the researchers found.

To adjust that consumption so precisely they must be performing a mathematical calculation — arithmetic division, the researchers said.

“This is the first concrete example in a fundamental biological process of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation,” said mathematical modeler Martin Howard from the John Innes Center of the Norwich BioSciences Institutes said.

Information about time comes from a plant’s internal clock, similar to our own body clock, and the size of the starch store is divided by the length of time until dawn to set the correct rate of starch consumption, so that, by dawn, around 95 percent of starch is used up, the researchers said.

“The calculations are precise so that plants prevent starvation but also make the most efficient use of their food,” metabolic biologist Alison Smith said.

“If the starch store is used too fast, plants will starve and stop growing during the night. If the store is used too slowly, some of it will be wasted.”

“The capacity to perform arithmetic calculation is vital for plant growth and productivity,” she said.

Downside Of Cleaner Air Could Be Increase In Hurricanes

EXETER, England (UPI) — Reducing pollution in the atmosphere may have improved our health, a British researcher says, but it may also have led to an increase in hurricanes.

Nick Dunstone of the Met Office Hadley Centre in Exeter says a new analysis shows the incidence of storms falls when pollution rises and increases when pollution drops.

Pollution in the atmosphere can increase the brightness and lifetime of low-level marine clouds, Dunstone said, and adding this effect into climate models showed such clouds cooling the surface more than expected.

Cooling the north Atlantic reduces the energy available to create and sustain hurricanes, he said.

As a result, he said, changes in aerosol emissions appear to drive cyclical variations in north Atlantic tropical storms — more pollution, fewer storms; less pollution, more storms.

If existing pollution controls are made even stricter, they “could reduce aerosols so quickly that we have record numbers of tropical storms for the next decade or two,” Dunstone told NewScientist.com.

Getting Past ‘Nerd’ Image Could Bring More Women Into Computer Science

SEATTLE (UPI) — The computer nerd stereotype, although inaccurate, is still keeping women from pursuing a career in computer science, a study by U.S. researchers indicates.

Writing in the journal Sex Roles, Sapna Cheryan of the University of Washington and colleagues say the stereotype, when perpetuated by the media, has a chilling effect on women pursuing a qualification in computer science.

In a study, when 293 college students from two U.S. West Coast universities were asked to provide descriptions of computer science majors, both women and men offered an image of computer scientists as technology-oriented, intensely focused on computers, intelligent but socially unskilled.

Despite years of effort, the researchers said, it has proven difficult to recruit women into many fields that are perceived to be masculine and male-dominated, including computer science, but when the “nerd” image is downplayed in the print media, women express more interest in further education in computer science.

“Broadening the image of the people in the field using media representations may help to recruit more women into male-dominated fields such as computer science,” they wrote. “Moreover, the media may be a powerful transmitter of stereotypes, and prevent many women from entering these fields.”

Use Of Social Networks In Teen Suicide Prevention, Intervention Urged

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UPI) — Mobile technology could help in teen suicide prevention and intervention as adolescents often reach out on social media when depressed, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Ohio State University say a survey of young adults found text messages were the second-most common way they sought help when they felt depressed; talking to a friend or family member ranked first.

The findings suggest suicide prevention and intervention efforts geared at teens and young adults should employ social networking and other types of mobile technology, they said.

“Obviously this is a place where adolescents are expressing their feelings,” lead study author Scottye Cash, a professor of social work, said.

“It leads me to believe that we need to think about using social media as an intervention and as a way to connect with people,” she said in a university release Monday.

Cash said the research was sparked in part by media reports of teenagers using social media to express suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

“We wanted to know: Is that accurate, or are these isolated incidents?

“We found that in a short period of time, there were dozens of examples of teens with suicidal thoughts using MySpace to talk to their friends,” she said.

“We need to find new ways to connect with them and help them with whatever they’re struggling with, or, in other words, meet them where they are in ways that make sense to them,” Cash said.

Archaeologists Hope To Uncover Ancient Northern China Capital City

CAIJIAFEN, China (UPI) — Archaeologists in China say an excavation project in the country’s northern Hebei Province could uncover an ancient capital dating back more than 3,000 years.

The 3-month excavation, approved by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage in April, is taking place in the village of Caijiafen, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported Sunday.

Archaeologists and historians said they believe the area to be excavated will reveal the capital of the Guzhu state of the Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C. to 1046 B.C.)

The excavation is expected to yield information about the history and culture of the ancient state, Xie Fei, an expert from the Hebei Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau, said.

The project will involve about 30 archaeologists from Renmin University and the Hebei Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau, Xinhua reported.

‘Tiger Parenting’ Linked To Depression, Poor Social Skills

BERKELEY, Calif. (UPI) — Children raised by authoritarian parents — described in the book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” — are showing poorer mental health, U.S. researchers say.

“Children raised by authoritarian parents are showing maladaptive outcomes, such as depression, anxiety and poor social skills,” Qing Zhou, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a statement.

Long before Amy Chua’s 2011 memoir raised the bar for tough-love parenting, UC Berkeley developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind coined the terms, “authoritarian,” “permissive” and “authoritative” parenting in the 1960s. These constructs are still widely used in social science:

— Authoritarian parenting: rigid, punitive, verbal hostility, possible corporal punishment.

— Permissive parenting: indulgent, few or inconsistent rules, use of bribery to motivate, love and nurturing more consistent with friendship than guardianship.

— Authoritative parenting: Warm, supportive, sets boundaries, uses reasoning and encourages a child’s democratic participation.

Zhou said research showed authoritarian parenting, which can include tough academic pressure, can lead to poor mental health outcomes for children and teenagers, such as depression, anxiety and poor social skills.

Most recently, Zhou’s research team ran an 11-week parenting class at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University for divorced Asian-American mothers, many of whom are Chinese immigrants raised in the authoritarian tradition.

“When they first came to the workshops, a lot of them would say, ‘Why should I praise my child for doing something they are supposed to do?’ But we encouraged them to try and they saw positive changes in their relationships,” Zhou said.

The Hidden Cost Of Terrorism: U.S. Smoking

NEW YORK (UPI) — After the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, a million former U.S. smokers took up the habit again and kept puffing for at least two years, a researcher says.

Dr. Michael F. Pesko, an instructor in Weill Cornell Medical College’s Department of Public Health in New York, said an examination of data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and found 950,000 to 1.3 million adult former smokers resumed smoking, representing a 2.3 percent increase nationwide.

There was no increase in the months and years following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the study found.

“This study provides the first unbiased estimate of the effect of stress on smoking, and the finding that there was such a big increase in smoking nationwide, seemingly due to one event, is extraordinary, and surprising,” Pesko, the study author, said in a statement. “It sheds light on a hidden cost of terrorism.”

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System tracked annual rates of risky personal behavior across the nation after the Sept.11, 2001, attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Health departments in every state conduct monthly phone surveys of residents, asking about seat belt use, smoking and drinking habits, the last time they visited a doctor or dentist, etc., Pesko said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta combines the data and releases an annual, nationally representative report. Since the same questions are asked yearly, responses can be compared over time, Pesko said.

Pesko compared 1.6 million responses to the nationally representative questionnaire, and extrapolated that from the fourth quarter of 2001 through 2003, when the study ended.

The study was published in the journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

Aging/Disease May Be Stemmed By Better Sleep

BOSTON (UPI) — A gene previously shown to protect against diseases of aging, plays a key role in controlling circadian rhythms, or sleep cycles, U.S. researchers say.

Senior author Leonard Guarente of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said human sleeping/waking patterns are largely governed by an internal circadian clock that corresponds closely with the 24-hour cycle of light and darkness.

Studies in animals found, when these rhythm gets thrown off, health problems including obesity and metabolic disorders such as diabetes can arise, Guarente said.

The researchers found circadian function decays with aging in normal mice, and that boosting their SIRT1 levels in the brain could prevent this decay. Conversely, loss of SIRT1 function impairs circadian control in young mice, mimicking what happens in normal aging.

Since the SIRT1 protein itself was found to decline with aging in the normal mice, the findings suggest drugs that enhance SIRT1 activity in humans could have widespread health benefits, Guarente said.

“If we could keep SIRT1 as active as possible as we get older, then we’d be able to retard aging in the central clock in the brain, and health benefits would radiate from that,” Guarente said in a statement.

The findings were published in the journal Cell.

Nursing Home Patient’s Own Physician Plus Pharmacist Ups Care

INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) — A team involving nursing home patient’s own physician plus a pharmacist can substantially improve the quality of nursing home care, U.S. researchers say.

“Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — mandates an interdisciplinary approach to nursing home care, so all U.S. nursing homes have teams, but the composition and activity of these teams vary,” Dr. Arif Nazir of Indiana University Center for Aging Research center scientist and the IU School of Medicine said in a statement.

“We found that having the doctor who actually cares for the nursing home patient involved on the care team has a positive impact on patient outcome, as did including a pharmacist on the team.”

Interdisciplinary teams that took this approach had a higher success rates in decreasing falls, improving behavioral issues and prescribing less anti-psychotic medications, Nazir said.

“When considering a nursing home placement for a loved one, Nazir suggests family members ask facilities specifics about the care team. He suggests asking, “How regularly is a resident’s own physician involved?” and “Does a pharmacist routinely attend care planning meetings?”

The study is scheduled to be published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

Lawsuit Alleges Girl’s Type 2 Diabetes Linked To Corn Syrup

BUFFALO, N.Y. (UPI) — A lawsuit by a Buffalo, N.Y.-area girl alleges her diabetes is linked to high fructose corn syrup and seeks $5 million in damages, court papers say.

J. Michael Hayes, a lawyer for the family of the 14-year-old girl from the Buffalo suburb of Amherst — diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when she was 12 — said the family is suing six manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup in U.S. District Court in Buffalo.

The lawsuit said the girl was never warned about the risks of high fructose corn syrup — a common ingredient in many foods.

“They know this stuff has adverse consequences, and if there’s harm associated with it, you should get a warning,” Hayes told the Buffalo (N.Y.) News. He said “solid science” supports the lawsuit’s claim of a link to diabetes.

However, the Corn Refiners Association, the trade association representing corn syrup makers, said it would fight the allegations and described the lawsuit as filled with “false and unsubstantiated claims,” the lawsuit said.

Named in the lawsuit were Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., Cargill Inc., Ingredion Inc., Penford Products Co., Tate & Lyle Ingredients Americas and Roquette America Inc.

“The plaintiff is seeking to profit by making claims that are contradicted by solid, credible research,” John Bode, president of the Corn Refiners Association, told the News in a statement. “This lawsuit will confuse consumers and mislead them about how to make the right choices for a healthy diet.”

Twinkies To Return To Stores Mid-July

GREENWICH, Conn. (UPI) — Twinkies, a U.S. snack icon yanked from the shelves by a bankruptcy filing last year, are to make their return to stores July 15, the brand’s new owner said.

Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management bought the Hostess snack portfolio for $410 million after the company filed for bankruptcy, saying it would not survive a strike by its bakers.

Twinkies had been on store shelves and in vending machines for more than 80 years when Hostess went under.

The Christian Science Monitor reported Monday the new Twinkies box will include self-proclaimed bragging rights to “The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever.”

Twinkies, cream-filled spongecake, made its debut in the 1930. The creator, James Dewar, said he ate at least three a day for 50 years.

Neiman Marcus Files To Return To Public Life

NEW YORK (UPI) — U.S. luxury department store Neiman Marcus said Monday in a filing that it would return to life as a public corporation.

The company was taken private by investment firms TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus eight years ago.

In its last fiscal year, the company took in $4.3 billion in revenue and earned $140.1 million, a level it has not reached since before the December 2007 through June-2009 recession,  The New York Times reported Monday.

The company’s initial filing was short on details, the Times said. It did not name an initial price range or what stock exchange would carry the retailer.

It also did not say how many shares would be offered, the Times said.

Investment groups often issue new shares and sell a portion of their own, while keeping enough shares to maintain control of the company’s board.