Lifestyle

California fire damage seen at hundreds of millions
October 23, 2007 06:17 PM - Adam Tanner and Jim Christie, Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The fires raging in Southern California have likely caused hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage to homes and businesses, the state's insurance commissioner said on Tuesday.

"This is just a terrible disaster; it's going to be one of the worst ever," California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner told Reuters.

He said the total destruction would easily be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, exceeding damages from a fire in Northern California at Lake Tahoe this summer.

Tim Robbins wages crusade against noise in new film
October 23, 2007 05:33 PM - Silvia Aloisi, Reuters

ROME (Reuters) - Have you ever dreamt of smashing up that car in your neighborhood whose burglar alarm has the bad habit of going off in the middle of the night?

U.S. director Henry Bean used to do that just that, breaking into other people's cars to disable their alarms, so he could get a good night's sleep. He ended up in court and in jail, until he decided to stop and make a film about it.

"Noise", Bean's provocative second film, casts Tim Robbins as David, an upper-class family man driven insane by New York's loud sounds -- grinding garbage trucks, horns honking, back-up beepers and worst of all, car alarms squealing at all hours.

Target Recalls Game Pieces: Cars
October 23, 2007 11:43 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 110,000 magnetic game pieces that accompanied "Cars" themed backpacks sold at Target Corp retail stores have been recalled because the toys can be swallowed by young children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Tuesday.

The gray and red backpacks were sold with four magnetic game pieces that can fall out of their plastic enclosure, the safety agency said. The game pieces were made in China.

The agency said there have been three reports of a magnet that became loose but no injuries have been reported. Small children can swallow a magnet, and if more than one magnet is swallowed they can attract each other and cause intestinal perforation or blockage.

 

 

 

 

Malibu money is no match for Mother Nature
October 22, 2007 05:30 PM - Dana Ford, Reuters

Malibu, California (Reuters) - Some of Malibu's wealthy denizens may reign over Hollywood, but Mother Nature has once again shown who's really in charge of their picturesque seaside retreat.

Since wind-driven wildfires erupted in Malibu's canyons before dawn on Sunday, hopscotching flames and embers have wrecked havoc on this affluent enclave in the hills and beaches west of Los Angeles for the second time this year.

"It's been very touch and go for the last 24 hours. It was literally right up to the doorsteps yesterday afternoon," Malibu resident Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of Dreamworks Animation, told Reuters on Monday.

Adult Weight Gain Raises Breast Cancer Risk
October 22, 2007 04:33 PM -

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Women who put on a lot of weight at any stage of adulthood increase their risk of breast cancer, likely because the hormone estrogen accumulates in the acquired fat and promotes tumors, researchers said on Monday.

Women who became overweight or obese had 1.4 times the risk of breast cancer compared to women whose weight remained stable or declined, their study found.

"The present findings indicate that the relations of adult weight gain to breast cancer is evident throughout the entire adulthood life span rather than being limited to a specific time in life," Jiyoung Ahn of the U.S. National Cancer Institute wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

California wildfires force 250,000 to evacuate
October 22, 2007 04:14 PM - Dan Whitcomb, Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fast-moving wildfires raged across Southern California on Monday, forcing at least 250,000 people to flee their homes and destroying hundreds of buildings as desperate fire officials called for help from other states.

More than a dozen separate fires, driven by dry, gale-force Santa Ana winds, burned out of control across the drought-stricken southern half of the state, charring an estimated 200,000 acres, killing at least one person and injuring a number of others.

"It's a tragic time for California," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who declared a state of emergency in seven California counties.

The fires also forced closures of major state highways, schools and businesses and sent plumes of thick black smoke drifting across much of the state, blotting out the sun.

US Govt Study: Source of Nitrate in Precipitation Is Coal Power
October 22, 2007 03:09 PM -

Denver, CO - Nitrate found in precipitation occurring in rural areas of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States is primarily caused by emissions from stationary sources located hundreds of miles away, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study. Stationary sources include coal-burning power plants and other industrial facilities. Although vehicles are the single largest emission source of nitrogen oxides in this region, distant stationary sources may have a greater impact on nitrate found in rain and snow.

 

 

Stationary sources include coal-burning power plants and other industrial facilities. Although vehicles are the single largest emission source of nitrogen oxides in this region, distant stationary sources may have a greater impact on nitrate found in rain and snow.

 

Chemosignal encourages women’s sexual desire
October 22, 2007 12:36 PM -

Chicago - Breastfeeding women and their infants produce a substance that increases sexual desire among other women, according to research at the University of Chicago discussed Tuesday at American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Washington, D.C.

The work on sexual desire was first published in the paper “Social Chemosignals from Breastfeeding Women Increase Sexual Motivation,” in a 2004 issue of Hormones and Behavior.

Bee Expert: Insecticides, Climate, Malnutrition, Paracites And Microbes Collapsing Bee Colonies
October 22, 2007 11:15 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Davis, California - Noted University of California, Davis honey bee specialist Eric Mussen fingered a line-up of prime suspects in the case of  Disappearing Bees. Mussen identified malnutrition, parasitic mites, infectious microbes and insecticide contamination as among the possible culprits. It's a complex issue, he said, but one thing is certain: "It seems unlikely that we will find a specific, new and different reason for why bees are dying."

"One third of our U.S. diet depends on honey bees," Mussen said. "If bees produce fruits and vegetables somewhere else, do we (Americans) want to be as dependent on food as we are on oil?"

China Needs More Than Electric Cars: Toyota
October 22, 2007 11:04 AM -

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese carmaker Toyota is working to improve its hybrid cars and develop electric cars for the future, but an official said on Monday that these vehicles would not help reduce CO2 emissions in China.

"In France, 80 percent of electricity is produced by nuclear stations so if electric cars replace fossil fuel cars then you have a clear reduction in the emission of CO2," said Tatehito Ueda, a managing officer at Toyota Motor Corp.

"But in China they make electricity by burning coal, so China is not the place for electric cars," he told the Nikkei International Automotive Conference in Tokyo.

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