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October 31, 2006, 7:13 PM CT

Business Innovations And Creative People

Business Innovations And Creative People Determine what important assets you possess. Given what you've got, assess what new, innovative businesses, processes or solutions you can engage in. Decide how to implement the innovation by examining the issues, the resources required and the planning steps.
American companies continue to grapple with staying competitive in the global economy. Increasingly, companies and business gurus are citing innovation as the key to sustaining American business' strength. What's not clear is what it means for a company to be innovative. How can firms foster innovation? Can organizations cope with the changes necessary to produce advancements?.

"It's important for Western companies to compete on innovation since they can't successfully compete with the East on price," said Panos Kouvelis, professor of operations and manufacturing management at the Olin School of Business. "The best way to infuse innovation into your company is not by hiring creative people. That's not effective. Organizations need to manage innovation in a systematic way to get employees to think outside the box."

There are methods for inspiring non-traditional thinking, Kouvelis said. It starts with encouraging experimentation, which elicits learning. Experimentation means prototyping in product-service developments, and development systems and technologies that maximize learning.

New, Not Trendy

Glenn MacDonald, professor of economics and strategy at Washington University's business school, concurred and added that the key to successful innovation is being able to go beyond the theory.........

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October 31, 2006, 4:43 AM CT

Teenage Girls' Use Of Diet Pills

Teenage Girls' Use Of Diet Pills
A study released recently by the University of Minnesota's "Project EAT" (Eating Among Teens) shows startling results of 2,500 female teenagers studied over a five-year period. The study found that high school-aged females' use of diet pills nearly doubled from 7.5 to 14.2 percent. By the ages of 19 and 20, 20 percent of females surveyed used diet pills.

"These numbers are startling, and they tell us we need to do a better job of helping our daughters feel better about themselves and avoid unhealthy weight control behaviors," U of M professor and study researcher Dianne Neumark-Sztainer said.

Other results from the study include:

62.7 percent of teenage females use "unhealthy weight control behaviors"

21.9 percent of teenage females use "very unhealthy weight control behaviors"

Very unhealthy weight control behaviors include the use of diet pills, laxatives, vomiting or skipping meals. Of the 2,500 teenage males studied, their rates were half of the females'.

"We have found that teenage females who diet and use unhealthy weight control behaviors are at three times the risk of being overweight," said Neumark-Sztainer. "Teens who feel good about their bodies eat better and have less risk of being overweight. Parents can play a key role in helping their children to build a positive body image and engage in healthy eating and physical activity behaviors".........

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October 31, 2006, 4:36 AM CT

Laptops Will Link Global Learners

Laptops Will Link Global Learners Model of One Laptop Per Child computer
The real star at an Oct. 19 lecture by Nicholas Negroponte was not the Media Lab co-founder and computer-aided design pioneer himself but what he brought to the Department of Architecture classroom at MIT--a model from his One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project.

After Negroponte finished outlining plans for creating and distributing the inexpensive computer to children in developing nations, the audience crowded the podium to examine the cheerful green-and-white 2B1 model. While Negroponte apologized for bringing a model, not a prototype, his audience still wanted a closer look. They turned and twisted the screen and the wi-fi antennas. They pressed fingers to the kid-size keypad. They weighed it in their hands.

"It's adorable," exclaimed Diane Sloan, a 1980 graduate of MIT's Sloan School. "It doesn't feel cheap," said Francois Proulx, a student visiting from Montreal. "It has something about it," agreed Yasmine Abbas, a 2001 graduate of MIT's architecture program. She added, thoughtfully, "If it touches the children, it's going to change a lot of things as well".

That is Negroponte's goal. Negroponte, who began his association with MIT as an architecture student in the 1960s, sees computers and technology as a way to help children educate themselves. OLPC, launched as a non-profit organization in 2005, aims to sell the laptops inexpensively to governments, which will then distribute them for free to children.........

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October 29, 2006, 7:59 PM CT

See What A Three-legged Tortoise Got

See What A Three-legged Tortoise Got
Tina the tortoise has been given a lift after being fitted with a suspension system and a pneumatic tyre to help her cope with muddy terrain.

The three-legged reptile can now go 'off-road' after the 4×4-style system was attached to her shell.

Tina was fitted with a plastic wheel four years ago to replace her rear right leg.

But our increasingly warmer autumns mean Tina hibernates later in the year, leaving her battling to cope with muddy grass and slopes and dead leaves.

So the rudimentary wheel has now been replaced with an air-filled tyre and a spring suspension system with shock absorber.


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October 27, 2006, 9:27 PM CT

Vitamin C and Water Healthy for Plastics, Too

Vitamin C and Water Healthy for Plastics, Too Researchers are using vitamin C (background) to craft certain plastics more efficiently.
Two new laboratory breakthroughs are poised to dramatically improve how plastics are made by assembling molecular chains more quickly and with less waste. Using such environmentally friendly substances as vitamin C or pure water, the two approaches present attractive alternatives to the common plastic manufacturing technique called free radical polymerization (FRP).

"The methods both present novel and complementary ways to dramatically improve efficiency, product control, and cost for the polymer industry," said Andy Lovinger, the National Science Foundation program director who oversees funds for the two projects. "Each of these approaches could have a very significant impact on polymer manufacturing".

Plastics are polymers, long, potentially complex, molecule chains crafted from an array of smaller chemical units. Using FRP, chemical engineers can create the right plastic for a range of applications, such as a specific trim for a car door or soft foam for a pillow.

For some plastics, the building-block molecules do not easily link together. To surmount this problem, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., devised a process called atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), which provides creative ways to coax the chemical subunits into chains. However, this method comes with certain costs, such as the need for a copper catalyst that can become unwanted waste.........

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October 27, 2006, 5:18 AM CT

What Killed Dinosaurs 65 Million Years Ago

What Killed Dinosaurs 65 Million Years Ago
Growing evidence shows that the dinosaurs and their contemporaries were not wiped out by the famed Chicxulub meteor impact alone, according to a paleontologist who says multiple meteor impacts, massive volcanism in India and climate changes culminated in the end of the Cretaceous Period.

The Chicxulub impact may have been the lesser and earlier of a series of meteor impacts and volcanic eruptions that pounded life on Earth for more than 500,000 years, say Princeton University paleontologist Gerta Keller and her collaborators Thierry Adatte from the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, and Zsolt Berner and Doris Stueben from Karlsruhe University in Germany.

A final, much larger and still unidentified impact 65.5 million years ago appears to have been the last straw, said Keller, exterminating two-thirds of all species in one of the largest mass extinction events in the history of life. It's that impact - not Chicxulub - that left the famous extraterrestrial iridium layer found in rocks worldwide that marks the impact that finally ended the Age of Reptiles, Keller believes.

"The Chicxulub impact alone could not have caused the mass extinction," said Keller, "because this impact predates the mass extinction".

Keller is scheduled to present that evidence at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Philadelphia, on Tuesday, October 24, 2006.........

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October 27, 2006, 5:00 AM CT

Survivors of organized violence

Survivors of organized violence
A series of studies, conducted by a psychotraumatology research group headed by Thomas Elbert in collaboration with Penn State psychologist William Ray, has examined a group of people who have been exposed to different magnitudes of torture and found the appearance of dissociation (mental separation from the incident) long after the event. The research is published in the latest issue of Psychological Science.

Those who experienced multiple and extreme trauma stopped responding physiologically and began to feel numb. The researchers believe that, just as the body can turn off some of its stress response during feelings of great terror or helplessness, the mind has a way of turning off strong emotions in overwhelming situations.

The research group examined the functional architecture of the brain in relation to varying degrees of dissociation. They observed that dissociative experiences are reflected in slow, abnormal brainwaves in an area that contributes to verbalizing and the ability to plan and prepare for actions.

Observation of structural or functional brain lesions has led the authors to interpret their findings as a sign of the brain decoupling these regions from sensory experience and action. They believe this is the only response that seems possible during serious torture but note that, when maintained later in life, the long-term consequences are devastating. This brain reorganization is maintained even when the torture is over.........

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October 26, 2006, 5:17 AM CT

Moderate Drinking May Boost Memory

Moderate Drinking May Boost Memory
In the long run, a drink or two a day may be good for the brain.

Scientists observed that moderate amounts of alcohol - amounts equivalent to a couple of drinks a day for a human - improved the memories of laboratory rats.

Such a finding may have implications for serious neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, said Matthew During, the study's senior author and a professor of molecular virology, immunology and cancer genetics at Ohio State University.

"There is some evidence suggesting that mild to moderate alcohol consumption can protect against diseases like Alzheimer's in humans," said During. "But it's not apparent how this happens".

He and his colleague, Margaret Kalev-Zylinska, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Auckland, in New Zealand, uncovered a neuronal mechanism that may help explain the link between alcohol and improved memory.

"We saw a noticeable change on the surface of certain neurons in rats that were given alcohol," During said. "This change may have something to do with the positive effects of alcohol on memory".

The scientists presented their findings at the annual Society for Neuroscience conference in Atlanta.

During and Kalev-Zylinska designed a special liquid diet for the rats. One formulation included a low dose of alcohol, comparable to two or three drinks a day for a human, while the other diet included a much higher dose of alcohol, comparable to six or seven drinks a day for a human. A third group of rats was given a liquid diet without alcohol. All animals were given their respective diets daily for about four weeks.........

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October 25, 2006, 5:03 AM CT

The Space Tourism Industry Can Really Make Money

The Space Tourism Industry Can Really Make Money
So far, only one craft has flown in space, sending test pilots to the final frontier at an expense of $25 million-plus to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. Market right now doesn't show the prospects that were expected by the investors in the space tourism industry.

But this doesn't mean that people in the real world don't have any respect for this industry. Space Tourism is not aimed at "space geeks" only. This seems the way it is because people in the real world can't afford the million dollars ride into the space and it looks like they are less bothered about what is going on in the space tourism industry.

Every body around the world would like to see the futuristic industry to succeed in the splendid mission they are trying to achieve. The market will sooner prove that investors can really make money on space tourism. There are no doubt high risks in investing millions or billions of dollars. But all of this is going to come out in its totality in two to four years.


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October 24, 2006, 7:05 PM CT

Cougar Predation Key To Ecosystem Health

Cougar Predation Key To Ecosystem Health
The general disappearance of cougars from a portion of Zion National Park in the past 70 years has allowed deer populations to dramatically increase, leading to severe ecological damage, loss of cottonwood trees, eroding streambanks, and declining biodiversity.

This "trophic cascade" of environmental degradation, all associated with the decline of a major predator, has been shown in a new study to affect a broad range of terrestrial and aquatic species, as per researchers from Oregon State University.

The research was just reported in the journal Biological Conservation and, like recent studies outlining similar ecological ripple effects following the disappearance of wolves in the American West may cause land managers to reconsider the importance of predatory species in how ecosystems function.

The findings are consistent, scientists say, with predictions made more than half a century ago by the famed naturalist Aldo Leopold, often considered the father of wildlife ecology.

"When park development caused cougar to begin leaving Zion Canyon in the 1930s, it allowed much higher levels of deer browsing," said Robert Beschta, an OSU professor emeritus of forest hydrology. "That set in motion a long cascade of changes that resulted in the loss of most cottonwoods along the streambanks and heavy bank erosion".........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

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