Lifestyle

Congo pygmies go high-tech to protect forest home
October 11, 2007 07:04 PM - Pascal Fletcher, Reuters

DAKAR (Reuters) - When Congo Republic's northern pygmies go out into the forest these days, some will be carrying hand-held satellite tracking devices along with their traditional bows and spears.

Using GPS handsets to pinpoint sacred sites and hunting areas, the nomadic forest dwellers are literally putting themselves on the map to protect their livelihoods and habitat against the chainsaws and bulldozers of commercial loggers.

Vail Switching To Hormone-Free Meats, Organic Dairy
October 11, 2007 04:48 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

BROOMFIELD, Colo. - Vail Resorts, Inc. announced today it will serve up natural, hormone-free meats and poultry and organic dairy products in casual on-mountain restaurants at its five resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado and Heavenly in California and Nevada beginning the 2007-2008 ski season.  Vail Resorts serves over 2.5 million lunches each ski season at approximately 40 on-mountain venues across its five ski resorts, primarily to families and active, health-conscious guests of all ages. The organic dairy products and natural meats procured through what they've dubbed the Good Food Partnership will be used to prepare meals in Vail Resorts' on-mountain kitchens by resort chefs.


Unprecedented Muslim call for peace with Christians
October 11, 2007 04:15 PM - Peter Graff, Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - More than 130 Muslim scholars from around the globe called on Thursday for peace and understanding between Islam and Christianity, saying "the very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake".

In an unprecedented letter to Pope Benedict and other Christian leaders, 138 Muslim scholars said finding common ground between the world's biggest faiths was not simply a matter for polite dialogue between religious leaders.

"If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world's inhabitants," the scholars wrote.

Survey: Travelers Choosing Green, But Not At Any Cost
October 11, 2007 02:37 PM -

WASHINGTON, D.C.—More than half of all U.S. adults say they would be more likely to select an airline, rental car or hotel that uses more environmentally friendly products and processes, according to the results of the latest travelhorizons survey by the Travel Industry Association (TIA) and Ypartnership.

But while more than half of U.S. adults may be advocates of environmental responsibility, only 14 percent of respondents said their actual selection of a travel service supplier would be influenced by that supplier’s efforts to preserve and protect the environment. Just 13 percent would be willing to pay higher rates or fares to use suppliers who demonstrate environmental responsibility (although fully 56 percent said they might).

Iowa’s Earthpark: Rain Forest, Green Hotel And More
October 11, 2007 02:08 PM - Glenn Hasek, Green Lodging News

NEW YORK—Maxon Holdings LLC (Maxon), a leading energy and environmental development company, announced a partnership with Earthpark, North America’s first center for science literacy and the environment. Maxon will provide $10 million of in-kind financial and technical support toward the completion and opening of Earthpark, scheduled to open on Earth Day, 2011. Maxon will give this support through its infrastructure asset financing operations, part of the company’s asset optimization business. Maxon’s contribution will facilitate ongoing support and involvement with educational and research efforts in the areas of global sustainability and restorative living practices.

Drugmakers recall infant cold medicine
October 11, 2007 12:26 PM - Debra Sherman, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson Wyeth and other makers of infants' nonprescription cough and cold products are recalling certain medicines in the United States because of the danger of overdose, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association said on Thursday.

Novartis and Prestige Brands Holdings are recalling their oral infant cough and cold medicines, as well, because data show that when the medicines are misused, it can lead to overdose, especially in children under 2 years old.

At least one U.S. pharmacy pulled the products from its shelves. CVS Pharmacy said it will immediately remove those recalled medicines and store-brand equivalents.

A spokeswoman for Consumer Healthcare, a trade association representing the makers of over-the-counter medicines, said overdoses have led to death and serious injury in rare instances, but stressed that the medications are safe when used as directed.

Earth Getting Wetter and Stickier, Researchers Say
October 11, 2007 08:39 AM - Reuters

Greenhouse gases are making the earth's atmosphere wetter and stickier, which may lead to more powerful hurricanes, hotter temperatures and heavier rainfall in tropical regions, British researchers reported on Wednesday.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, are some of the first to show how human-produced greenhouse gases have affected global humidity levels in recent decades and could offer clues on future climate change, the researchers said.

Norway leads, US lags on environment policy-report
October 11, 2007 08:36 AM - Reuters

Norway leads and the United States trails on a list of 21 wealthy nations when it comes to environmental policy, according to an annual index by the Washington-based Center for Global Development.

The index looked at such things as global warming gas emissions and low gasoline taxes that encourage consumption when it came to the environment, which is one of seven areas that make up the Commitment to Development Index, or CDI.

Vocal Joystick uses voice to surf the Web
October 10, 2007 05:50 PM - Hannah Hickey, University of Washington

Washington - Doctoral student Brandi House uses Vocal Joystick to control the movement of a robotic arm. The screen on the lower right shows how the software analyzes her vocalizations to create instructions for the arm's movement.

The Internet offers wide appeal to people with disabilities. But many of those same people find it frustrating or impossible to use a handheld mouse. Software developed at the University of Washington provides an alternative using the oldest and most versatile mode of communication: the human voice.

"There are many people who have perfect use of their voice who don't have use of their hands and arms," said Jeffrey Bilmes, a UW associate professor of electrical engineering. "I think there are several reasons why Vocal Joystick might be a better approach, or at least a viable alternative, to brain-computer interfaces." The tool's latest developments will be presented this month in Tempe, Ariz. at the Assets Conference on Computers and Accessibility.

Lead found in toys, backpacks in U.S. stores:
October 10, 2007 12:44 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Curious George doll bought at Toys "R" Us was found to be tainted with 10 times the legally-allowed lead level, and vinyl lunch boxes and backpacks also had high amounts of lead, the nonprofit group Center for Environmental Health said on Wednesday.

The Curious George doll found with high amounts of lead was made by Marvel Entertainment Group Inc, the Oakland, California-based group said in a statement. A Marvel spokesman said he was unaware of the advocacy group's finding and had no immediate comment.

Millions of toys made in China have been recalled over the last three months due to unsafe levels of lead paint, which is toxic and can pose serious health risks, including brain damage, in children.

The Center for Environmental Health also said it found high lead levels in vinyl lunch boxes and backpacks made by Sassafras Enterprises of Chicago.

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