Friday, July 11, 2014
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Today Wyatt Schmaltz becomes the youngest sheriff in America at just three years old. The event transpired in Indianapolis at Indiana University’s Riley Hospital where Schmaltz has been staying. He received a diagnosis back in April of stage 4 neuroblastoma.

Since his diagnosis, Schmaltz has received chemotherapy. His next round of treatment will include a stem cell transplant as well as a surgical procedure to take out the tumor that’s grown in his abdomen.

The decision to make Schmaltz a sheriff was made by Terry Stoffel. He works as an actual sheriff in nearby Huntington County and was responsible for giving Schmaltz, his badge due to his bravery.

Stoffel later spoke of the event, saying: “We have given Wyatt, all the powers of a real sheriff deputy, which are to carry out the orders of the sheriff. Right now, his only orders are to get better.”

Dr. Michele Sasyana of the Riley Hospital for Children notes that moments like these, which not always necessarily on such a grand scale, can actually improve the health of patients. “Gestures like this really aid the healing process for our patients. It brought tears to our team members’ eyes to see officers, who are sworn to protect and serve, travel to pay tribute to one of our patients,” she said.

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In Phoenix, Arizona, big changes will arrive in 2015 as the Department of Health Services will allow those with post-traumatic stress disorder to relieve their symptoms with marijuana without any legal repercussions.

Will Humble, the Director of the Department of Health Services, made the big decision yesterday after reviewing data and other studies that proved that marijuana can have a positive effect in reducing the discomfort that people experience with PTSD.

However, there are some strict regulations that Humble has insisted that doctors must follow. Firstly, any patient prescribed marijuana to deal with their PTSD must not try it as a first option. Instead, the patient must have tried other treatments for symptoms, even if those symptoms still continue.

There’s also a limitation on the amount of marijuana that a patient can receive. The limit on the new law caps consumption at two and a half ounces distributed on a two-week basis.

This life-altering decision especially impacted Ken Sobel, an attorney in Tucson who’s also a member of the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association. He’d been pushing for the change all along and noted to reporters that voters hadn’t approved of any laws regarding the use of marijuana to soothe conditions or diseases since at least 2010.

The new law also expands beyond just PTSD and allows patients with aches and discomfort from chronic pain, AIDS, or glaucoma to receive medical marijuana prescription. According to the Arizona Daily Sun, that means that currently about 50,000 Arizona residents are eligible to receive medical marijuana.

Before Humble made his decision, he looked into the data well. He worked with the local University of Arizona as well as the College of Public Health where he connected the dots between PTSD and medical marijuana use in order to combat petitioners. The most conclusive research he found was from a manuscript, which, according to Humble, picked up on “an association between cannabis used and PTSD symptoms in some patients.”

He elaborated further: “In other words, the information presented by the petitioners at the hearing and subsequently published study provided evidence that marijuana may be helpful in the palliative care of PTSD in some patients.”

With that information, he was granted permission to pass the law. According to Sobel, who spoke with a doctor, the estimate is that there’re about 500,000 people in the state of Arizona that could have PTSD. Sometimes symptoms are difficult to diagnose, so a sufferer may not even realize that they have the condition.

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Astronomers in Chile have researched a supernova called SN2010jl to learn more about cosmic stardust, including where it comes from and in how many stages. This supernova erupted from the UGC 5189A galaxy.

The astronomers, which utilized a big telescope from the European Southern Observatory for their studies, recently published their results to Nature, a journal. The team discovered that stardust, which allows for the creation of both terrestrial planets and stars, is influenced by supernovas.

These supernovas, which occur when a star implodes, expend energy in large dosages. While this fact has been well understood, what astronomers didn’t quite grasp was how stardust endured such a blast of energy.

Upon further exploration of the SN2010jl supernova, the team watched the supernova for months after it imploded, up to nine times total. They then tracked the same supernova after two and a half years one last time using near-infrared and visible wavelengths.

One of the main authors and researchers on the study, Christa Gall, who hails from Denmark’s Aarhus University, believes that the data they found reveals a lot about how stardust interacts with supernovae. “By combining the data from the nine early sets of observations we were able to make the first direct measurements of how the dust around a supernova absorbs the different colors of light. This allowed us to find out more about the dust than had been possible before,” she stated.

The team discovered that the reason that the stardust could survive had to do with a gas shell that’s formed after a supernova blows up. This shell is actually relatively cold and thus provides a great breeding ground for stardust. This is the first stage of formation. The second stage of stardust involves fast creation of the particles.

The team also noticed that the stardust from the SN2010jl supernova was pretty sizeable, measuring to nearly 4.2 micrometers in some instances. According to the researchers, this makes the stardust bigger than even the dust in the Milky Way.

Another author in the study, Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen’s Jens Hjorth, notes the second stage of stardust formation in relation to the size of the dust. “Our detection of large grains soon after the supernova explosion means that there must be a fast and efficient way to create them.”

If the team does continue to observe the SN2010jl supernova, they believe that in 25 years the stardust could contain half as much mass as the sun.

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When it comes to smartphones, consumers have more choices than ever before. With countless companies jumping into the market producing a wide array of products,there is no shortage of choice. However, with so many options presenting themselves, it can be difficult to determine what network to sign with or what smartphones are worth purchasing.

Take for example Sprint. With a fast growing 4G LTE network operating in over 402 US cities, Sprint is definitely not a bad option, but what about the devices they carry. Sprint offers a number of devices from a variety of companies such as Samsung and Apple with a range of price points, but what are the top 5 smartphones available from this carrier?

HTC One M8

Coveted by many, including myself as one of the best Android smartphones on the market, the HTC One M8 is an excellent choice for the premium smartphone user. It features the typical but georgeous 1080p display and great internal specs, but the way the HTC One M8 differentiates itself from competitors is what elevates it to greatness. If there are two design features of this device that are a cut above the rest, it’s the speakers and form factor.

The device is sexy with it’s all-aluminium chasis. It feels more premium than other devices on the market. The same goes for the noise produced by the BoomSound front facing speakers. Avaliable for $0 upfront and $27.09 per month for 24 months, the HTC One M8 is a great choice.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung have established a juggernaut in the industry with the Galaxy line of devices and the Samsung Galaxy S5 is no slouch. While it may not have been the leap people were expecting, the device was a leap from something that was already excellent. Packed to the brim with features, no user will find themselves bored with this smartphone. Wrapping that all up with a great 1080p display and powerful internals, the Galaxy S5 is a solid choice. The S5 is available for $0 upfront and $27.09 per month for 24 months.

Google Nexus 5

While the Nexus 5 is more of a budget choice, that in no way means it is a cheap smartphone. Quite the contrary in fact. While the blazing specs and georgeous screen are enough to justify this device, the software truly elevates the Nexus 5. For those who aren’t fans of TouchWiz or Sense, the Nexus 5 is the best choice. What users get with the Nexus 5 is the vanilla Android experience with updates straight away and no bloat ware in sight, and for $o upfront and only $16.67 per month, the Nexus 5 value proposition among other smartphones is damn near unrivaled.

Apple iPhone 5S

Regardless of one’s opinion on Apple, they make solid smartphones and the iPhone 5S is a clear example of this. While the device may be small for some, it still packs punch with the super fast A7 processor and the clean interface of iOS 7. With Apple’s trademark excellent build quality and a fingerprint scanner on top, the iPhone 5S is a good choice for Apple fans and general consumers alike.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is the king of the phablet for good reason. With it’s excellent, massive display, powerful specs, great S Pen features and unrivaled battery life, the Note 3 is still one of the best phones on the market months after it’s release. For those with big hands, you’ll find it very difficult to pass up on this fantastic device.

It’s very clear that consumers have a number of options when it comes to smartphones. No matter what choice is made, all of these devices are great choices and no matter what phone you choose, you wont be disappointed.

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Last week, the Supreme Court made a decision regarding the Hobby Lobby case, insisting that companies could deny female employees access to birth control depending on religious factors. Today, Democrats in the Senate are starting the fight to try and get that decision overruled.

Women that wished to receive birth control or other forms of contraception would need health insurance coverage to do so through the Affordable Care Act. If an employer with a particular religious background opposed to a woman he or she employed using birth control, they could deny coverage for contraception, according to the legislation.

The case, called Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, saw a decision made last week in a final ruling of five to four. However, Democrats have not settled since then and seek to reverse the decision.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington spoke to interviewers about the decision. “Our bill simply says that your boss cannot get between you and your own healthcare. Last week, we saw the Supreme Court give CEOs and corporations across America the green light to design legally mandated healthcare coverage for their employees. Women across the country are outraged.”

Democrats in many states plan to take a proactive approach to the ruling, such as Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader in Nevada, who spoke to interviewers yesterday, July 8th. “One thing we’re going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men. This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we’re going to do something about it,” he said.

The issue remains a hot one in Alaska as well, where Senator Mark Begich recently visited. He says that at least 60,000 women in the state of Alaska alone would face repercussions from the Hobby Lobby v. Burwell case.

“I can tell you during my trip I just returned from in Alaska, this was the topic. Women are talking about this issue as an impact to their lives, their livelihood and their economic security,” he said.

Those fighting the decision have raised a very interesting example that could prove downright dangerous, and that’s the case of someone requiring HIV treatment or a blood transfusion for medical reasons. Also, certain types of religions, such as Christian Scientists, believe in religion over medical care to treat injuries and illnesses.

Thus far, the Senate bill opposing the Hobby Lobby v. Burwell decision has received 35 cosponsors. One such sponsor, Mark Udall, a Democrat in Colorado, realizes the weight of this monumental decision. “Coloradans understand that women should never have to ask their bosses for a permission slip to access common forms of birth control and other critical services,” he explained.

In the meantime, Democrats like Diana DeGette of Colorado and Louise Slaughter and Jerry Nadler of New York will implement the opposition to the case to chambers of the House. As of this point, no Republicans have supported the effort, which could lead to some difficulties in getting the bill passed.

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Earlier this month, on July 1st, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) scientists uncovered the smallpox virus in vials. The virus, marked as “variola”, was contained in an FDA laboratory in Bethesda, Maryland.

Upon discovering the vial, the NIH got in touch with the Division of Secret Agents and Toxins or DSAT. This division, through the Centers for Disease Control, manages up to 57 toxic substances such as those that cause both smallpox and the bubonic plague according to the CDC. DSAT keeps these substances contained so that no one can come into contact with them.

Regarding the smallpox vial, no one at the Bethesda facility came into contact with the virus, and it did not leave the building. Therefore, there’s no risk of the virus spreading to others.

After the NIH contacted the DSAT, the groups reached a decision to move the smallpox vial where it would be better stored. On Monday, July 7th, the vial traveled from Bethesda to Atlanta, Georgia, where it currently resides in a CDC facility.

At the CDC facility, scientists performed tests on the vial, discovering that it did indeed contain DNA for variola. The scientists will continue performing tests on the vial to track how the virus could spread. The CDC facility then plans on safely disposing of the vial so that the virus cannot spread further.

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Canadian scientists have uncovered a fossil of the smallest hedgehog in existence. The creature, which measures to only two inches, is immortalized in a fossil that’s at least 50 million years old.

According to scientists Natalia Rybczynksi of the Canadian Museum of Nature and Jaelyn Eberle, a professor at the University of Colorado, the tiny hedgehog could have been a relative of the tapir. The fossil surfaced in British Columbia at the Driftwood Canyon.

It’s estimated that the tiny hedgehog would have lived somewhere in the British Columbia rainforest and would have thrived in a hotter environment than today’s world. According to Eberle’s research, the fossil is notable because no other mammals have been traced in Canada near the Arctic from the Eocene Epoch, which occurred roughly 50 million years ago.

Rybczynksi and Eberle are hoping to use the uncovering of the fossil as a means of looking more into the mammals of this area. The two have written a paper about their findings of the hedgehog fossil, which was just released yesterday in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Eberle knows that what they’ve found is of great significance to the mammalian world. “Plants and insects have been on the radar for sometime, but fossil mammals haven’t turned up. It’s a blank slate until these B.C. mammals came along,” she said.

The groundwork for uncovering information about the fossil began with Brandon University instructor Dave Greenwood, whose class is responsible for discovering some of the fauna. Greenwood, working with Rybczynski and Eberle, gave them his information, and the team began researching.

Eberle had a fossil of a Heptodon, a creature similar to a tapir, on record to use as a reference. They uncovered parts of this creature’s jawbone. However, the tiny hedgehog was a complete mystery to the researchers considering that no one knew what it was. Beyond that, the fossil they had found was also exceedingly small. According to Rybczynski, the tiny hedgehog’s skull measures to half a centimeter, which is less than an inch.

Therefore, Rybczynski and Eberle took advantage of 3D scanners to take a closer look at the skull. They eventually named the tiny hedgehog the Silvacola acares, which translates to “tiny forest dweller.”

Rybczynski knows that her and Eberle’s research is far from finished. “We can look in the past to get an idea of what’s going to happen,” she said.

Next, the team plan on returning to Driftwood Canyon to seek out more mammals from the Eocene Epoch. Further fossils and other samples will only expand their understanding of how these animals may have met their end. Rybczynski notes that the environment was the hottest experienced since the dinosaur age.

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Today, Sony announced a new PlayStation 4 Driveclub bundle set to release in Europe for the launch of the game in October. The bundle will include a 500 GB PlayStation 4, a DualShock 4 controller and a copy of the upcoming racing game from Evolution Studios.

Sony stated that the Driveclub bundle will retail for €439.99 in Europe, which equates to approximately $597 USD. However, as of right now, no North American version of this bundle has been announced. This does make sense as racing games are typically more popular in Europe.

Driveclub was initially scheduled to release at the launch of the PS4. However, the game was delayed until 2014 to give the developers more time to dig into the fundamentals of the title and improve the game. Since then, the game was confirmed for an October release. Driveclub was also confirmed to be running at 1080p, 30 FPS.

The Driveclub bundle marks one of many recently announced bundles for the PS4. Just last week, Sony announced a PS4 bundle for The Last of Us: Remastered Edition. That bundle is currently set to release later this month in multiple regions worldwide, including Europe. Currently, the bundle will retail for €439 in Europe.

Sony also announced a PlayStation 4 Destiny bundle which will be available worldwide. That bundle includes a white PS4 along with Bungie’s upcoming sci-fi shooter. The bundle is launching in September alongside the release of Destiny for $450 in the US.

It’s somewhat surprising that Sony are releasing so many bundles for the PS4. Currently, the PS4 is selling well and is currently ahead of both the Xbox One and Wii U in worldwide sales. The bundles are also confusing in that there isn’t really a deal presented. Most of the bundles are the same price as a PS4 and the game sold separately, This differs to the Xbox One Titanfall bundle which essentially made the game free as part of the deal.

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On Monday, AT&T confirmed they will be the first carrier within the US to retail the upcoming LG G Watch. The Android powered wearable is releasing on July 11 in the US and will be available from that date via the well known wireless carrier.

Currently, the LG G Watch is available to pre-order ahead of the release date. The device is retailing for $229 USD with relatively comparable prices set for regions outside of the US including Australia and the UK.

Jeff Bradley, the senior vice president of devices and AT&T commented on the device and it’s features. He stated, “Because the LG G Watch works with so many of our Android smartphones, it should be a wearable device that appeals to a wide array of consumers. It’s ability to anticipate your schedule and traveling needs will help you plan your schedule more efficiently while on-the-go.”

Prior to the official announcement, many sources speculated that AT&T would be the carrier of the wearable. The G Watch was announced at Google I/O last month as a device being developed alongside Google. The G Watch was one of many smart watches unveiled at the event including the Moto 360.

This announcement came shortly after a new report was released. Juniper Research estimated that the value for the wearable device market would surge this year to $1.5 billion. This would mark an increase of $800 million from last year.

Many companies are hoping the wearable market will be the catalyst for the “next big thing”, which explains the sudden surge of wearable devices and as a result, the increase in the value of the wearables market. Samsung unveiled and released the Galaxy Gear last year in an initiative to break into the wearable market. Apple is also rumored to be developing an iWatch that could release by the end of this year.

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In Concord, New Hampshire, public health officials have noted today that mosquitoes carrying a virus called Chikungunya have arrived with two confirmed cases.

The virus, which can only be spread from an injection from the insects, has already been afflicting those in Latin America and the Caribbean. Concord’s currently only dealing with two residents that have the virus, and neither of them received it in New Hampshire. Instead, the two had visited the Caribbean recently and obtained the Chikungunya virus there.

This virus causes extremely irritating symptoms such as joint pain and swelling, muscle pain, fever, headaches, and rashes. Although it’s not necessarily a fatal virus in most instances, sufferers experience strong discomfort.

Thus far, only those two Concord residents have been diagnosed with Chikungunya in New Hampshire. However, nearby in Rhode Island, two other residents were infected, and in Massachusetts, four people were affected.

According to health officials that spoke to CBS Boston as well as the Department of Health and Human Services, no one in New Hampshire can catch the virus, as it isn’t spread there.

The Chikungunya virus has actually existed since 1952, when the first diagnosed cases were recorded in Tanzania. It reappeared in 2013, where it spread to areas like the Caribbean. Thus far, it hasn’t reached the United States beyond those secluded cases.

According to doctors, if a person has been bitten by a mosquito and believes that they have the Chikungunya virus, they should seek medical care immediately. Dr. Jose Montero, a public health director, notes that people traveling to the Caribbean or Latin America should be especially careful to avoid mosquito bites.