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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Charlestown architects featured in PBN


  INTO ACCOUNT  by Rhonda J. Miller
 YMCA Sailing Center - Camp Fuller Turner Point, South Kingstown, RI               KZLA and Oyster Works

As debate and warnings about climate change swirl, some architects are creating Rhode Island buildings that incorporate elements to address what has turned out to be the most talked-about environmental issue of the 21st century.

"The new YMCA Sailing Center on Turner Point is close to 14 feet above sea level," said Andrew Baer, principal in the Charlestown-based architecture and design firm Oyster Works.  "Both the sailing center and the marine-biology center are (designed to be built) on a grade beam foundation that will allow flood waters to flow underneath the building, without harming the building."

Oyster Works designed the master plan for the YMCA Camp Fuller at Turner Point in South Kingstown, a complete redesign and rebuilding of the facility, with the first phase of construction expected to begin in the fall.

Food Demo on July 26 at Westerly Job Lot features low-cost, high-class meals

URI nutrition expert prepares and shares  delicious and nutritious summer recipes each under $3.00

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I.:  It’s summertime in the Northeast, which means that it’s time for cookouts, beachside getaways, and pool parties. Whether you’re relaxing in a hammock or hosting an outdoor gathering, making delicious and healthy meals and sides doesn’t mean you need to break the bank.

To showcase this, on Saturday, July 26, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Ocean State Job Lot will host a free Summer Cooking Demonstration at its Westerly, R.I. store (20 Post Road) for customers to learn how to prepare two appetizing, nutritious summer dishes. 

Each ranging from $.18 to $.36 per serving and features inexpensive food items that are available at Job Lot stores and part of a well-balanced diet. Shoppers can sample both finished products. The recipes, along with informative and humorous videos, are also available online.

Rising seas and more intense storms are challenging southern New England’s shoreline, coastal homes and infrastructure.

Erosion Happens: Can We Deal With It?

By FRANK CARINI/ecoRI News staff
A rock wall intended to protect this Plum Island home has been heavily damaged by an unrelenting sea. (Rachel Playe/ecoRI News)
Southern New England’s coastline — the region’s economic engine — is under siege, and the relentless enemy is gaining force. It can’t be subdued by 20-foot-high seawalls or controlled by old-school hay bales. It’s allies include parking lots, beachfront development and climate change.

Coastal communities here are increasingly experiencing the impacts of an encroaching ocean. Storm waves are eroding beaches and flooding developed areas. Rising sea levels are taking land. The ocean’s power even when it’s seemingly tranquil is unmatched, but when it’s angry our continued disrespect proves costly.

State and local officials are now asking how they can protect people, property and vital infrastructure such as drinking water supplies, utilities and roads from the advancing sea. There are no simple solutions, but there’s also no reason to panic. The sky isn’t falling, but the ocean is creeping in; our coastline is changing, and smart decisions must be made.

During the past few decades, sections of the Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut shoreline have experienced an average rate of retreat of between 1 and 4 feet, depending on storm frequencies and intensity. A single storm, for example, can wash away some 30 feet of beach in an instant.

Truths self-evidence

The libertarian philosophy, in a nutshell, is that our country is built from individuals and the free market and is designed around protecting individual freedoms, especially when it pertains to property.

Libertarians often cherry-pick quotes the Founding Fathers as “proof” that their ideology of individualism was written into the country’s beginning. One scholar, however, believes that she has found proof that our first founding document, the Declaration of Independence, has a tiny error.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Single Taxing District: Threat or Hoax?

Or paranoid CCA Party boogeyman?
By Will Collette

By now, every household in Charlestown should have received a “Special” edition of the Pipeline, the town’s official newsletter. Its production, printing and mailing has been paid for by your tax dollars.

You may be scratching your head wondering what this “Single Taxing District” threat is really all about – and if it’s for real. To save time, let’s call this “Single Taxing District” an “STD” for short, especially since the mailer depicts it to be about as welcome as gonorrhea.

You are right to wonder what this STD threat is really all about because the mailer does a terrible job of explaining what it is. But more importantly, it doesn’t say what the odds are of getting this STD or how you catch it. It also doesn’t say who is responsible for it – it simply makes the vague statement that “suggestions have been made” but not who made them.

The mailer makes it seem like poor little Charlestown was just walking down the road to one of the Chariho Schools, minding its own business, when it got jumped by two bullies, Richmond and Hopkinton, who then stole its lunch money. A very sad story, if only it was true.

Thank you, Krap-Mart

Big Box O' Poverty
By Jen Sorenson

Click here to break the cycle of something.

Who wants to be next?

God Bless America. Higher rate of gun shootings than in Great Britain, Switzerland, Canada, Israel, Sweden or West Germany.

VIDEO: Are you fit to be an American?

Take the test we expect immigrants to pass

Companion animal of the week

Meet Kamen!
From the Animal Rescue League of Southern Rhode Island 

Hello, my name is Kamen.  I am a handsome dog with a great disposition who has just recently arrived here from the south. 

My foster mom had a very hard time letting me go because said I am "as close as they come to being the 'perfect' dog." 

I get along with other dogs, cats, and of course people. 

Since I am a big boy, I'd love to have a forever home with a nice large lush green yard to run around in for hours. Oh, I love going for nice long walks as well and I am a great listener who will follow your lead. 

I am a gentle giant at heart, please don't let me size or breed scare you, I am a sweet and patient boy who just wants a permanent loving home where I can give my fully devoted love in return to you.

Give a big gentleman a chance to be loved for life!

America's shame, Rhode Island-style

RIILE (Rhode Islanders For Immigration Law Enforcement) is a nativist hate group.

The inspiration for RIILE and a big help in organizing the group was FAIR, (Federation for American Immigration Reform) according to a June 29, 2008 ProJo piece by Karen Lee Ziner. 

Sandra Gunn, FAIR’s Eastern field rep, “came to Pawtucket… at the invitation of William ‘Terry’ Gorman, a 68-year-old retired postal worker and member of FAIR since 1997. Gorman, increasingly frustrated, wanted to organize his own local campaign against illegal immigration. Gorman and his wife were among the eight people at the organizational meeting on Feb. 28, 2006, of Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement. Gunn provided start-up strategy, literature from FAIR and advice to the new members, Gorman said.”

On Friday, July 18, 2014 RIILE organized a protest against the large number of refugee children crossing the border. The action at the Rhode Island State House was at the behest of ALIPAC (Americans for Legal Immigration PAC). The protest drew about two dozen people and consisted of Terry Gorman and others speaking to a tiny crowd of rapidly dwindling reporters.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified both FAIR and ALIPAC as Nativist hate groups based on their rhetoric, and there is little to differentiate RIILE, though the SPLC has not made the determination that RIILE is a hate group.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Did Cameron Ennis of Charlestown qualify to run for state Senate?

Candidate’s error results in low signature count 
My Bad Oops animated GIFBy Will Collette

The race for Senate District 34, currently represented by Sen. Catherine Cool Rumsey, is either going to be a three-way race or a head-to-head battle depending on the belated final tally of signatures on nomination papers. District 34 includes most of the northern half of Charlestown.

As of Monday afternoon, according to one of the contenders, that final tally is far from final.

In addition to incumbent Democrat Senator Cathie Cool Rumsey and endorsed Republican Elaine Morgan of Hopkinton, Cameron Ennis of Ennis Road in Charlestown declared his intention to run as an independent. Even before he filed, he set up the framework of a nice looking website (click here) to promote his candidacy.

The first key test for candidates for elected office is getting enough signatures on nomination petitions (100 for candidates for State Senator) to qualify for the ballot. The reasoning is that if you can’t get 100 valid signatures, you don’t have much of a chance to mount a credible campaign.

As of Sunday, it had appeared that Ennis failed that test, collecting only 49 signatures, less than half the number required to run.

However, after I e-mailed Ennis for comment and for him to explain what went wrong, he sent me this message:

Can't imagine any Charlestown educator would fake a degree

Jon Pelto reports that New London, Connecticut, is about to award a lucrative contract as superintendent to a “reformer” who has called himself “Dr.” without having earned a doctorate. Pelto commends Hartford Courant reporter Jon Lender for digging up the story.

Pelto writes:

“For more than eight years, “Dr.” Terrence Carter, the incoming New London superintendent of schools and self-described education reform expert, bragged that he had a Ph.D.

“At one point, Carter’s bio materials claimed that he had a doctorate from Stanford University.

“In another article his doctorate came from a joint program between Stanford and Oxford.

“And more recently he claimed his doctorate was from Lesley University.

“But it was all a lie.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Planetary Nebula NGC 2818 from Hubble 

From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day

NGC 2818 is a beautiful planetary nebula, the gaseous shroud of a dying sun-like star. It could well offer a glimpse of the future that awaits our own Sun after spending another 5 billion years or so steadily using up hydrogen at its core, and then finally helium, as fuel for nuclear fusion. 

Curiously, NGC 2818 seems to lie within an open star cluster, NGC 2818A, that is some 10,000 light-years distant toward the southern constellation Pyxis (the Compass).

At the distance of the star cluster, the nebula would be about 4 light-years across. But accurate velocity measurements show that the nebula's own velocity is very different from the cluster's member stars.

The result is strong evidence that NGC 2818 is only by chance found along the line of sight to the star cluster and so may not share the cluster's distance or age.

The Hubble image is a composite of exposures through narrow-band filters, presenting emission from nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms in the nebula as red, green, and blue hues.

Charter Crooks

In Connecticut, Charter Lobby Gives New Meaning to the Word Chutzpah

Journalist Sarah Darer Littman is still aghast from the weeks of scandal that have rocked Connecticut and its charter sector.

“Dr.” Michael Sharpe stepped down as CEO of Connecticut’s Jumoke Charter Schools and its parent organization FUSE. 

Sharpe had a criminal record long ago, and his doctorate was a phony. 

Littman remembers how she was fingerprinted every time she took a new job.

Loss of wetlands and bogs puts carnivorous plant populations in jeopardy

Meat-Eating Plants Losing Their Dining Room

By FRANK CARINI/ecoRI News staff
The North American pitcher plant, which is native to New England, feeds on crawling insects. (New England Carnivorous Plant Society photos). EDITOR'S NOTE: Pitcher Plants are available for sale at Charlestown's Umbrella Factory
Carnivorous plants, such as the Venus flytrap, made famous in the 1986 film “Little Shop of Horrors,” don’t thrive in New York City flower shops. In fact, Venus flytraps are only native to a small area that straddles the border between North and South Carolina.

But, like their carnivorous cousins, such as butterworts, sundews and pitcher plants, they are falling victim to habitat loss. There may be fewer than 40,000 Venus flytraps left in their native habitat, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Across the United States, including here in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the preferred habitats of carnivorous plant species — acidic bogs and wetlands — are being filled in and built upon.

Weather fluctuations cause people to seek information on climate change

Results vary by political ideology, education levels

KINGSTON, R.I. –A University of Rhode Island researcher analyzed Internet search trends and weather patterns and has concluded that people across the United States seek information about climate change when they experience unusual or severe weather events in their area. But findings differed based on political ideology and education levels.

“When local weather conditions are consistent with the predictions of climate change – above average heat, drought or warmer winters, for instance – then people go online and type in ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ to learn more,” said Corey Lang, URI assistant professor of environmental economics. “It’s a confirmation that people are connecting weather anomalies to climate change.”

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Another dramatic drop in Charlestown unemployment

So why should anyone complain?
By Will Collette
Source: RI Department of Labor & Training

The latest unemployment figures for Charlestown show our town's rate is dropped to only 5.8%. That's a drop of 1.2 points just in the last month and brings Charlestown's unemployment rate down to the lowest point it's been since before the Big Recession (December 2007 when the rate was 5.2%).

Six and a half long and difficult years. But one key reason why Charlestown unemployment has gotten back to pre-Recession levels is because a lot of workers have simply left the workforce.

The last time Charlestown unemployment was under 6% in December 2007, almost 350 more Charlestown workers were actually working. In a small town like Charlestown, that's a big swing. It means that over 7% of Charlestown workers who were working in 2007 aren't working anymore.

It does not necessarily mean that more Charlestown workers are now blissfully retired with comfortable pensions since virtually every study showed that the Great Recession was historically different for how hard it hit older, experienced workers> Further, the long-term unemployed were stigmatized when they sought new employment.

Contrary to its image, Charlestown is far from being the paradise for wealthy, elderly retirees. 66.2% of Charlestown residents over the age of 16 are still counted as part of the workforce.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

M106 Across the Spectrum 

The spiral arms of bright, active galaxy M106 sprawl through this remarkable multi-wavelength portrait, composed of image data from radio to X-rays, across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Also known as NGC 4258, M106 can be found toward the northern constellation Canes Venatici.
The well-measured distance to M106 is 23.5 million light-years, making this cosmic scene about 60,000 light-years across.

Typical in grand spiral galaxies, dark dust lanes, youthful star clusters, and star forming regions trace spiral arms that converge on a bright nucleus.

But this composite highlights two anomalous arms in radio (purple) and X-ray (blue) that seem to arise in the central region of M106, evidence of energetic jets of material blasting into the galaxy's disk.

The jets are likely powered by matter falling into a massive central black hole.

Kitty chemo?

Does cat poop parasite play a role in curing cancer?

Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is a single-celled parasite that is happiest in a cat's intestines, but it can live in any warm blooded animal.

Found worldwide, T. gondii affects about one-third of the world's population, 60 million of which are Americans.

Most people have no symptoms, but some experience a flu-like illness. Those with suppressed immune systems, however, can develop a serious infection if they are unable to fend off T. gondii.

An Anti-Cancer Agent in Nature?

A healthy immune system responds vigorously to T. gondii in a manner that parallels how the immune system attacks a tumor.

"We know biologically this parasite has figured out how to stimulate the exact immune responses you want to fight cancer," said David J. Bzik, PhD, professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

In response to T. gondii, the body produces natural killer cells and cytotoxic T cells. These cell types wage war against cancer cells. Cancer can shut down the body's defensive mechanisms, but introducing T. gondii into a tumor environment can jump start the immune system.

"The biology of this organism is inherently different from other microbe-based immunotherapeutic strategies that typically just tickle immune cells from the outside," said Barbara Fox, senior research associate of Microbiology and Immunology. "By gaining preferential access to the inside of powerful innate immune cell types, our mutated strain of T. gondii reprograms the natural power of the immune system to clear tumor cells and cancer."

Engineering T. gondii as a Cancer Vaccine

Since it isn't safe to inject a cancer patient with live replicating strains of T. gondii, Bzik and Fox created "cps," an immunotherapeutic vaccine. Based on the parasite's biochemical pathways, they delete a Toxoplasma gene needed to make a building block of its genome and create a mutant parasite that can be grown in the laboratory but is unable to reproduce in animals or people. 

Cps is both nonreplicating and safe. Even when the host is immune deficient, cps still retains that unique biology that stimulates the ideal vaccine responses.

"Aggressive cancers too often seem like fast moving train wrecks. Cps is the microscopic, but super strong, hero that catches the wayward trains, halts their progression, and shrinks them until they disappear," said Bzik.

Laboratory Success in Melanoma and Ovarian Cancers

Published laboratory studies from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth labs have tested the cps vaccine in extremely aggressive lethal mouse models of melanoma or ovarian cancer and found unprecedented high rates of cancer survival.

"Cps stimulates amazingly effective immunotherapy against cancers, superior to anything seen before," said Bzik. "The ability of cps to communicate in different and unique ways with the cancer and special cells of the immune system breaks the control that cancer has leveraged over the immune system."

A Promising Future for a Personalized Cancer Vaccine

This new weapon against cancer could even be tailored to the individual patient. "In translating cps therapy to the clinic, we imagine cps will be introduced into cells isolated from the patient. 

Then Trojan Horse cells harboring cps will be given back to the patient as an immunotherapeutic cancer vaccine to generate the ideal immune responses necessary to eradicate their cancer cells and to also provide life-long immunity against any future recurrence of that cancer," said Bzik.

Fox and Bzik say a lot more study is needed before cps leaves the laboratory. They are trying to understand how and why it works so well by examining its molecular targets and mechanisms.
"Cancer immunotherapy using cps holds incredible promise for creating beneficial new cancer treatments and cancer vaccines," said Bzik.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Norris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:
·                     MLA
·                     APA
Norris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. "Does cat poop parasite play a role in curing cancer?." Science Daily, 15 July 2014. <>.

Buzz Kill

James Lawson, Rhode Island’s state apiary inspector, routinely checks honeybee hives, such as this one at Rhode Island College in Providence, for mites. (Frank Carini/ecoRI News)
A number of factors, many manmade, have conspired to reduce the population of honeybees and other pollinators
By FRANK CARINI/ecoRI News staff

Vaguely understood colony collapse disorder gets all the headlines, but here in southern New England, where commercial bees aren’t trucked in to pollinate acres and acres of almonds and apples, the biggest threat to the region’s honeybee population are a pair of tiny pests.

Varroa mites and tracheal mites, imported accidentally from Asia in the 1980s, attack honeybees in all stages of life, from larvae to adulthood, according to Rhode Island’s state apiary inspector.

“They feed on the blood of the bees,” said James Lawson, speaking about varroa mites, the most harmful pest to honeybees. These external parasites are just big enough to be seen with the naked eye, and look like mini-horseshoe crabs without the tail, he said.

Corporate criminals renounce citizenship but claim their right to cheat

Inverted Values
By Phil Mattera, Dirt Diggers Digest

Conservatives are up in arms about the surge of undocumented women and children coming across the border from Mexico. So great a threat is purportedly being caused by this influx that Republican members of Congress are clamoring for legislation that would allow faster deportations. Even President Obama seems to agree.

Much less urgency is being expressed about another sort of immigration crisis: the presence of a growing number of foreign-based corporations masquerading as American companies. Large-scale tax dodging by these firms does much more harm to the United States than the modest impact of those desperate Central Americans.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

VIDEO: Sucking on that silver spoon is hard work

By Robert Reich 

First, let's watch John Oliver's brilliant 14-minute HBO segment on this same topic:

In a new Pew poll, more than three quarters of self-described conservatives believe “poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything.”

In reality, most of America’s poor work hard, often in two or more jobs.

The real non-workers are the wealthy who inherit their fortunes. And their ranks are growing. 
In fact, we’re on the cusp of the largest inter-generational wealth transfer in history.

The wealth is coming from those who over the last three decades earned huge amounts on Wall Street, in corporate boardrooms, or as high-tech entrepreneurs.

It’s going to their children, who did nothing except be born into the right family.

"It's like a TV you can't turn off"

Astronomy Picture of the Day

SN 1006 Supernova Remnant 

A new star, likely the brightest supernova in recorded human history, lit up planet Earth's sky in the year 1006 AD.

The expanding debris cloud from the stellar explosion, found in the southerly constellation of Lupus, still puts on a cosmic light show across the electromagnetic spectrum.

In fact, this composite view includes X-ray data in blue from the Chandra Observatory, optical data in yellowish hues, and radio image data in red. Now known as the SN 1006 supernova remnant, the debris cloud appears to be about 60 light-years across and is understood to represent the remains of a white dwarf star.

Part of a binary star system, the compact white dwarf gradually captured material from its companion star. The buildup in mass finally triggered a thermonuclear explosion that destroyed the dwarf star.

Because the distance to the supernova remnant is about 7,000 light-years, that explosion actually happened 7,000 years before the light reached Earth in 1006.

Shockwaves in the remnant accelerate particles to extreme energies and are thought to be a source of the mysterious cosmic rays.

The Kochs Pay a Former Senator to Keep Money in Politics

The billionaire brothers just hired former Senator Don Nickles to lobby against campaign finance measures.
146954 600 The Koch head cartoons
For more cartoons by John Cole, click here

The beauty of our country’s present system of government is that anyone is perfectly free to buy a member of Congress. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?

Take the Koch brothers. Of course, these multibillionaire industrialists prefer to buy everything in bulk, and they’ve spent millions of dollars to purchase a whole flock of Republican Congress critters.

In fact, they’ve spent so much on so many elections (from Congress all the way down toschool board races) that they’ve made themselves the poster boys of Big Money corruption. By huge margins, polls indicate that the public wants Congress to terminate the infestation of our democratic system by the Kochs and other plutocrats.

How have the brothers responded? By buying another senator.

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