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If you encounter heavy traffic on your daily bicycle route, scientists have a solution to keep you safely guiding. The Kolelinia is a high-wire for bikes that lets riders fly above the streets and beat the rush hour crowd. Bulgarian architect Martin Angelov is the brains behind the high-tech bike path.
Suspended high above the street, the Kolelinia consists of a gutter in which you ride and a guide cable that runs alongside the rider at handlebar height. Bikes are connected to the safety line with a tethering device. With these safety measures in place, the bikes pass over the cable. Should you fall off, a safety cable prevents you from hitting the pavement.
The device is intended to be used only at high-traffic junctions, rather than being a freeway in the sky. But critics point to the difficulty of making turns on the track and the fixed handlebars as dangers of the system. For the time being, it looks like bicyclists are safer by brushing up on road safetyâ€”the kind that takes place on the ground, rather than above it.
If youâ€™re trying to add to the ambiance of a romantic dinner, avoid glitter tea lights manufactured by Pier 1 Imports. The U.S. Product Safety Commission recalled about 40,000 of the tea lights due to the fire hazard posed by the glitter.
The products were made in Vietnam and distributed at Pier 1 Imports in the U.S. and Canada from September through December 2009. The company has received three reports of the glitter burning, although no injuries have been reported. The recalled silver lights have a SKU number of 2410335, and the recalled gold lights have a SKU of 2410322.
The company also recalled about 67,000 Santa ceramic tea light holders that also pose a fire hazard. Pier 1 has received three reports of the holders burning. If you purchased the holders between September and December 2009, discard them immediately. You can receive additional details by calling 800-245-4595.
An increasing number of men and women are seeking out illegal silicone injections as an alternative to plastic surgery. The procedures are appealing to individuals who would like to change their appearance but are unable to afford conventional surgery, primarily low-income women and transsexuals.
The rise in popularity of cosmetic procedures has triggered a thriving black market in medical and industrial grade silicone that is injected in makeshift medical facilities or underground â€œpumping parties.â€ The silicone is used to fill out buttocks, breasts, and facial wrinkles in a cheap alternative to expensive cosmetic procedures. However they are extremely dangerous.
While the ease and affordability may make these procedures appealing, prospective patients should know that liquid silicone can cause a number of serious health conditions. The Food and Drug Administration banned the use of liquid silicone injections in 1992, and is only approved for use in certain implants where the liquid is contained in a shell. The danger lies in the silicone moving through the body where it can cause lumps, pain, and become lodged in the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism.
Because these procedures are illegal, it is difficult to determine the percentage of patients who develop complications, but in a study of 44 patients with lung conditions resulting from liquid silicone, the mortality rate was nearly 25%.
The FDA is encouraging victims of illegal silicone injections to come forward, and is pressing criminal charges against cosmologists who carry out the procedure.
The outspoken daughter of Senator John McCain has signed a book deal with Hyperion Press, owned by Disney. Hyperion beat out a number of other publishers in a bidding war that ended in the high six figures.
McCain has become a spokesperson for the new generation of GOP supporters with her blog and regular column for Tina Brown and Barry Diller’s Web site The Daily Beast. In the past she has taken on other figures like Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, the latter of whom responded by calling McCain a â€œplus-sized model.â€
The new book, slated for publication in the spring of 2010, will be a guide for the troubled right as it attempts to reclaim some of the hipness and passion that has fueled the wave of Obama activism over the last year. She will address the stigma attached to being a young Republican, particularly a female conservative, and “explore what it means to be a progressive Republican in the party today” and “what it means to love the Republican Party, while not always fitting in.”
McCain will also offer advice to the GOP leadership, as the book will “touch on topics ranging from what the party needs to do to attract others like her, to the importance of technology in reaching out to younger voters, to what needs to be done to keep young people passionate and involved in politics in the future.”
This will be McCainâ€™s second book, the first being a picture book about her father titled My Dad, John McCain.
Beware of your bubble bursting: EB Brands recalled three million fitness balls because they may unexpectedly burst during use, says the U.S. Consumer Product Association. The recall involves Bally Total Fitness, Everlast, Body Fit Fitness, and Valeo rubber fitness balls advertised on the packaging as being burst-resistant.
To date, EB Brands has received 47 reports of the fitness balls bursting, including accounts of a fracture and multiple bruises. However, the company is keeping the products on store shelves without changes to the design or manufacturer. Safety instructions that accompany the fitness balls are now bolder and easier to read, a company spokesperson said.
Guidelines stress that balls should not be inflated past a certain point, which ranges based on the ball size. Consumers who already own an EB Brands ball should contact the company for a copy of updated instructions. The company is offering free replacements or refunds for customers whose fitness balls have exploded.
The rubber fitness balls were sold in various colors and sizes with the Bally Total Fitness, Everlast, or Valeo logo printed on them. EB Brands distributed the balls at department stores and fitness retailers nationwide from May 2000 to February 2009.
A new report from the Center for Disease Control finds that efforts to increase food safety in the United States have lost efficacy over the last three years. Food safety was on the rise for decades, but the study shows that the incidence of food-born illnesses is holding steady, and certain contaminants are on the rise.
The study followed illnesses caused by eight bacteria and two parasites known to contaminate foodstuffs. The majority of these contaminants originate in the intestines and feces of animals, and since 2004 they have been appearing more often, and in a wider variety of foods. Rather than only contaminating meats and animal products, e coli and salmonella have been found in fresh produce like spinach and peanuts.
Salmonella is particularly problematic. Without including the nationwide peanut contamination that sickened nearly 700 people, incidence of salmonella poisoning is almost twice that of the target rate set for 2010. For a healthy adult the symptoms of salmonella are diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps, but for children and the elderly salmonella poisoning can result in hospitalization or death.
The causes for this decline in food safety are myriad. In part it is due to the increasingÂ complexity and centralization of food production. Instead of relying on local supply, much of our food is produced and processed in large-scale plants that receive ingredients from numerous sources, making the source of contamination difficult to target. Add to this the growing virulence of many strains of bacteria and the rapid rise in imported foodstuffs, and the challenge of preventing contamination is further complicated.
Even as the potential for food-born illnesses has increased, the FDAâ€™s funding and staffing for monitoring contamination has languished. The FDA is widely thought to be under-funded and ineffective. Between 2002 and 2007 the FDA inspected only 1% of all fresh produce, and spent only 3% of its total budget on those inspections. Director of food safety and security at the FDA, David Acheson, has called for, â€œa proactive, dynamic approach to new strategies to protect American consumers.”
These new strategies include hiring 150 new researchers and inspectors and instituting a rapid response team to shorten the FDAâ€™s ability to pinpoint and shut down sources of contamination. Obamaâ€™s pick to head the FDA, Margaret Hamburg, will be charged with envisioning and implementing more effective solutions to the contamination crisis.
President Obamaâ€™s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration marks a new direction for the beleaguered organization. A long series of public health scares, from contaminated peanuts, to Vioxx, to the reoccurring appearance of salmonella in various food products, has left the FDA with a tarnished reputation. Margaret A. Hamburg, the former New York Health Commissioner, is charged with the task of improving the FDAâ€™s practices and policies.
Ms. Hamburg is seen as a compromise between the drug companies and consumer advocates who have both criticized the FDA for its inability to strike a compromise between supporting the pharmaceutical industry and protecting consumers. Both factions are optimistic that Hamburg has the experience and expertise necessary to make the necessary changes.
During her time as New York Cityâ€™s Health Commissioner from 1991-1997 Hamburg was successful in reducing the cityâ€™s tuberculosis rate by 46%, slowing the spread of AIDS with a controversial needle exchange program, and raising awareness about the role of public health in preparing for bio-terrorism attacks. Her other posts have included Vice President for Biological Programs, and Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Serving as Hamburgâ€™s deputy is Joshua Sharfstein, former Baltimore Health Commissioner. The drug industry has grumbled about this appointment because of Sharfsteinâ€™s 2007 petition to restrict childrenâ€™s cold medications.
The pressure is certainly on given a new report from the Center for Disease Control stating that food safety in the United States, which had been improving for decades, has been holding steady for the last three years and in certain areas showing signs of decline. However, hopes are high that Hamburg and Sharfstein will be able to overhaul the ailing FDA for todayâ€™s demanding market.
Sharfstein has already started work, while Hamburg awaits confirmation from the Senate before she can take her post at the helm of the organization.