Tuesday, April 21, 2009

World's first cloned camel unveiled in Dubai

By Richard Spencer in Dubai
Injaz camel: Dubai claims world's first cloned camel

Injaz, or Achievement, was unveiled to the world alongside her surrogate mother five days after being born at the city's Camel Reproduction Centre.

"This is the first time scientists have cloned a camel calf," the scientific director of the central veterinary research laboratory, Dr Ulrich Wernery, said. "She is a healthy female."

The project had the personal backing of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, best known in Britain as one of the world's leading racehorse owners.

The Camel Reproduction Centre now hopes to use the technique on some of Dubai's leading racing camels to preserve elite bloodlines for the future.

Camel racing is a popular past-time in the Gulf region, though the traditional child riders have largely been replaced by robots due to humanitarian concerns.

"We are all very excited by the birth of Injaz," Dr Lulu Skidmore, the centre's scientific director, said. "This significant breakthrough in our research programme gives a means of preserving the valuable genetics of our elite racing and milk-producing camels in the future."

The scientists employed the standard animal cloning techniques first used in the case of Dolly the sheep in 1996 by scientists in Edinburgh.

Injaz is the clone of a camel slaughtered for its meat in 2005. The ovaries were removed and DNA extracted and placed in an egg taken from and re-implanted into the surrogate mother.

Tests since Injaz's birth have shown the camel's DNA to be a copy of the dead animal, not the mother.

The birth, after an "uncomplicated" gestation period of 378 days, followed a number of unsuccessful attempts at producing a clone.

The Camel Reproduction Centre previously produced the world's first "Cama", the first surviving hybrid of a camel and a guanaco, a type of llama.

14 horses die just before polo match

(CNN) -- Fourteen thoroughbred horses dropped dead in a mysterious scene Sunday before a polo match near West Palm Beach, Florida, officials said.

Teams are trying to figure out what happened at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Florida.

Teams are trying to figure out what happened at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Florida.

State and local veterinary teams are trying to figure out what happened at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington, Florida, as team Lechuza Caracas prepared to compete in a U.S. Open match.

Two horses initially collapsed, and as vets and team officials scrambled to revive them, five others became dizzy, said Tim O'Connor, spokesman for the polo club.

"A total of seven died on our property," O'Connor told CNN. Seven other horses died en route to a Wellington horse farm and a veterinary hospital.

The cause of the deaths has not been determined, and necropsies and blood tests were underway, he said.

O'Connor said each team brings between 40 to 60 horses for matches, and they are continuously switched out throughout a match to keep the horses from overexerting themselves.

A meeting will be held to determine whether Lechuza Caracas will compete at a later date, he said.

"Everybody is kind of in shock and trying to figure out what happened," he said. "Nobody can recall an incident in which this many horses have died at once."

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Easter Gifts, Multiplying on the Loose

Karena Cawthon for The New York Times

The rabbit population is booming on Okaloosa Island, Fla., and some have been hanging out in the backyard of Phil and Shirley Dykes, left. Trapping has begun.


OKALOOSA ISLAND, Fla. — What is it about Florida that inspires pet owners to set their captives free?

Green iguanas released decades ago now splash in the pools of Palm Beach. Peacocks roam free in parts of Miami, Burmese pythons are spreading through the entire state — and here, on this two-mile shoelace of beachfront land, the bunny problem keeps multiplying.

Dozens of rabbits, the spawn of Easter gifts from as far back as 2002, now run wild in a field of two-story condominiums.

Actually, wild is an exaggeration. “I have two that let me pet them,” said Denise Callahan, 55, out for a walk on Wednesday with her dog, Gigi. “One’s Peter; the other’s Mama.”

A few feet to her right, a snow-white rabbit with dark eyes sniffed the sand near a boat trailer. Behind her, a chubby brown one hopped past a parked Hyundai. Clearly, in a neighborhood of mostly parking lots and small apartments, these bunnies felt at home.

John Wagnon, 45, a bartender working on a bicycle in his garage, said they often cheered him up. “Some days,” he said, “you have a bad day at work, you turn the corner and you say, ‘Bunnies!’ ”

He pointed excitedly, mimicking his usual reaction. “It’s like the homeless situation,” he said. “Where else would they want to live?”

Next door, Russell Beasley just shook his head. He had been building cabinets in his garage when he felt compelled to offer an opinion. “They’re a pain,” he said, revealing a Massachusetts accent. Antibunny bile followed: He compared them to rats; he said they would attract snakes; he said they would cause car accidents because drivers would swerve to miss them. “People might think they’re cute, but they’re a menace,” said Mr. Beasley, 61. “They’re multiplying like crazy — that’s what they do.”

Previous cases of unintended fertility in Florida have led government officials to step in. State rules that took effect last year force anyone who buys a python to purchase a $100 annual permit, and the slithery reptile gets a mandatory microchip that would let officials track the animal back to its owner.

Palm Beach County Commissioners have pushed for the same policy to deal with its leathery iguanas.

Here in Okaloosa Island, the solution has been a little more old-school: wire traps with carrots as bait. The local animal shelter put them out after Easter this year, and the first rabbit was caught on Wednesday, in the front yard of Phil and Shirley Dykes. Their little patch of green had already become ground zero for all things bunny because they lacked a dog and provided a delicacy — healthy rose bushes.

Even with a large, confused brown rabbit in the cage, a half dozen others sat nearby, including a black, furry baby that would fit in a child’s hand. “This is an animal friendly environment,” said Mr. Dykes, 68, a retired engineer who once worked for NASA.

Standing on his front porch, he admitted that his wife had to convince him to host the trap. His soft spot for animals was well-known; recently he let a group of doves nest in his garage. He even left the door partly open so they could come and go as they pleased.

The rabbits initially received the same warm welcome.

“It’s amusing to watch them play in the yard,” he said, adding, “I didn’t mind them until they ate the shrubbery.”

His wife was less generous. “I just had three in the garage, and one came right up to me,” she said. “No thank you.”

Mr. Dykes insisted, however, that they not be killed — a common request here that previously kept the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society at bay. Dee Thompson, director of animal control at the agency, said a solution emerged only in the last few days: a man with lot of land in Walton County volunteered to take them after seeing an article about them in The Northwest Florida Daily News.

“He already has rabbits on his property,” Ms. Thompson said. “He said he wouldn’t eat them.”

Residents here are likely to miss the bunnies if too many disappear. Cassandra Higgins, 25, said they did not cause much harm, and even her dogs, Lady and Rugar, seemed to like them.

When told about the traps, Ms. Callahan said, “Oh no.” Come to think of it, she said she had not seen Mama — “a huge brown rabbit with scars all over her like she’d been through the mill” — in days. And as she walked Gigi down the road during a gorgeous coastal sunset, she turned around with a final call to action.

“Save the rabbits!” she said, laughing, knowing it sounded a bit ridiculous. “Save the rabbits!”

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Dog honoured for tackling burglar

Toby the Labrador
Toby suffered a punctured lung as he fought off the intruder

A Labrador who fought to protect its owners from a knife-wielding burglar has been honoured for his bravery.

Toby was stabbed four times in the chest and legs by the intruder but still managed to chase him out.

The Morton family, from Barnoldswick in Lancashire, had been staying at Leconfield Barracks in East Yorkshire.

They awoke to find their pet in a pool of blood. But the eight-month-old survived and has been awarded by the animal charity, PDSA.

The armed burglar, who attacked Toby with three knives taken from the kitchen, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for the offence.

Toby suffered a punctured lung in the attack, in June 2007, as he fought to stop the offender going upstairs to the sleeping family.

After succeeding in chasing the offender out of the building Toby then woke his owner, Jonathan Morton, by barking.

Had it not been for Toby's determined barking and lunging at the intruder, Mr Morton would not have been aware of the threat to his family.
Chris Heaps, PDSA deputy chairman

Mr Morton and his wife Samantha praised their pet's actions.

He said: "Toby is our hero. I dread to think what could have happened if he had not intervened that night."

The Labrador has been presented with the PDSA Certificate for Animal Bravery by the charity's senior deputy chairman Chris Heaps.

He said: "Had it not been for Toby's determined barking and lunging at the intruder, Mr Morton would not have been aware of the threat to his family.

"Toby is indeed a worthy recipient of the PDSA Certificate for Animal Bravery."

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5 Winners Teach Us How to Learn From Failure

5 Winners Teach Us How to Learn From Failure
Photographed by Michael Nemeth/WonderfulMachine
When her marriage ended, former soldier Randi Ketchum bounced back and started teaching kindergarten.
When author J. K. Rowling addressed the graduating class at Harvard last June, she didn't focus on success. Instead, she spoke about failure. She related a story about a young woman who gave up her dream of writing novels to study something more practical. Nonetheless, she ended up as an unemployed single mom "as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless." But during this rock-bottom time, she realized she still had a wonderful daughter, an old typewriter, and an idea that would become the foundation for rebuilding her life. Perhaps you've heard of Harry Potter? "You might never fail on the scale I did," Rowling told that privileged audience. "But it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all--in which case, you fail by default.

"You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned."

Lots of Americans are tasting failure for the first time now and immediately trying to spit it out. Whether it's a home foreclosure, unemployment, or the evaporation of hard-earned savings, the have-it-all generation suddenly doesn't. But in the bitterness that accompanies adversity are lessons worth savoring--and, if you look hard enough, sweet opportunity.

On the pages that follow, you'll learn how the brain responds to failure and how it can be reprogrammed for success using some simple tricks. You'll also find advice from a successful entrepreneur who claims that times like these are actually among the best for launching dreams. But most valuable, you'll meet some ordinary people who were in some tough situations. A few screwed up; others got sucker punched. But even though their stories are quite different, the outcomes are the same. They all bounced back. And you can too.

As Rowling herself would admit, it doesn't take a wizard to do it.

"I failed to be the wife with a white-picket life, but I've since given it to my children …"
--Randi Ketchum, 36, Huron, Ohio

It was one of the happiest times of my life. I was 29 and had just received my bachelor's degree, graduating with honors despite working two jobs and being a wife and mother. My parents and five-year-old son were in the audience when I walked onto the stage at Ashland University to get my diploma. I was so excited and proud to be starting a teaching career and contributing more to my family's well-being.

But when I got home that evening, there was a note from my husband written on the back of an envelope. It basically said he'd come to get his clothes and wouldn't be back. We'd been having trouble, but the finality of that note still came as a shock. He had emptied our bank account. We were horribly in debt. I had quit my previous jobs in anticipation of interviewing for a teaching position. Plus, I was eight months pregnant.

Most young women have an idealized picture of the happy-go-lucky life they're going to live in a house with a white-picket fence. But no one ever sits you down and says that's not reality, and sometimes life is just darn ugly. It all caved in for me that night. I was embarrassed, scared, and angry and felt I had failed.

But I had my son, and I was about to bring a new life into the world, so despite my deep sadness, I had to go on. The next morning, I woke up (literally and figuratively), put my feet on the floor, took a deep breath, fixed breakfast, and basically did everything I always did. I used my routine to keep me moving. After being in the military for six years, I guess you can say I fell back on my training, like all good soldiers do in tough situations. One small step after one small step was the way I bounced back.

And in the seven years since, I've continued moving forward. I got a job as a kindergarten teacher, earned a master's degree in education, and watched my babies grow to 12 and seven. I certainly would never have chosen to put them through this, but in retrospect, I'm glad it happened to me when it did. It helped me find my voice and myself a lot sooner. It helped me grow independent, confident, and strong--things I'm hopefully instilling now in my children.

"I failed at everything when I was young, but I just sold my company for $75 million …"
--Bob Williamson, 62, South Florida

In 1970, when I was 24, I hitchhiked to Atlanta and, ironically, ended up on Luckie Street. I was anything but lucky at the time. I was a drug addict and was wanted by police. Everything I owned was in a pillowcase. I had decided I was going to either straighten up or commit suicide. I sold a pint of blood for $7 and got a room for the night at the Luckie Street YMCA. The next day, I landed a job cleaning bricks, then moved into a boardinghouse and slowly started making my way back.

But luck wasn't on my side just yet. I got into a head-on collision in a borrowed car and was hurt so badly, I was in the hospital for three months. While I was there, I took to reading the Bible. I picked it up out of boredom and really thought I would disapprove of it. But I read the New Testament, then the Old, and then the New again--every word of it. And at that moment, I started to feel a gentle, steady pull of encouragement. Even though I had the morals of a junkyard dog, I felt forgiven and even loved.

Shortly after I left the hospital, I met a wonderful young woman, whom I married six months later. She was like something out of The Brady Bunch, as opposite to me as you could imagine, but we've been married now for 38 years and have a large, loving family. I went on to become a pillar of the community and a successful businessman. In fact, I just sold my software company, the ninth business I founded, for $75 million.

I don't believe in coincidence or luck. I believe in God. And if there's a lesson I learned from this, it's that God seems to show his strength and power through weakness. I think he picks the down-and-out on purpose to demonstrate what's possible. But it isn't always an aha moment. He doesn't just bless you and heap on the millions. Rather, God shows you the way and supplies the opportunities. Then it's up to you to set the goals, devise the strategy, and, most important, provide the man-hours. That's the way you get to lucky street.

"I failed to save someone's life, but I didn't make the same mistake twice …"
--Mary Wilson, 65, Montecatini, Italy

I was making dinner in my apartment in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1996 when I heard breaking glass and a woman screaming next door. I knew immediately what was happening: The young woman was being beaten by her husband--and this time, I didn't hesitate to act.

5 Winners Teach Us How to Learn From Failure
Photographed by Preston C. Mack/Redux
Bob Williamson once sold his blood for $7 a pint. He recently sold his software company for $75 million.
You see, 15 years earlier, when I was living in a house near Boston, I had another young couple as upstairs tenants. They would fight occasionally and get loud, but they'd always settle down when I phoned to complain. But very early one morning, I heard screaming. I called like I normally did, and when no one answered and things quieted down, I went back to bed. The next thing I knew, someone was banging on my door, and when I opened it, I saw the man who lived upstairs. "I've killed Sandy," he said. He was covered in blood and, as I later found out, had used knives and broken bottles to stab her to death and then tried to kill himself. I called the police and went upstairs. What I saw was so horrible, I couldn't continue to live there. I sold the house at a loss that week.

I was pretty traumatized afterward. I never sought psychiatric help but probably should have. I couldn't get over the fact that I had an intuition about that guy, but I dismissed it. I knew my guilt wasn't rational, but it never left me. Deep down, I always felt I could have done something.

And that's why when I heard the screaming again in '96, like a cruel déjà vu, I was immediately on the phone with police and then out the door to help. I was angry, livid, maybe even a little out of control. Their door was dead-bolted from inside, but through the broken glass panels, I could see him dragging her into the bathroom. He was covered in blood from crawling through the glass and was screaming, "I'm going to drown you!" I started pounding on the door and yelling, "Leave her alone! I can see what you're doing!" That must have surprised him, because he stumbled, and then she broke free, and he fled out the back door.

The girl was bruised but not seriously injured. Since I was in the Navy at the time, I took her to the base for safekeeping and then helped her through the entire legal process until he was finally convicted.

In retrospect, the whole story is so strange, I almost can't believe it. It's like it was meant to happen. I no longer feel guilty, because things have come full circle. But what I still occasionally ponder is how opportunity exists even in horrible situations--the opportunity to learn, to improve, and ultimately to react differently if you're ever given a second chance.

"I failed to be careful and lost my eye, but it's helped me see things more clearly …"
--Alex Gadd, 52, Pikeville, Tennessee

I was loading my truck to go to the flea market when a hook on one of the bungees bent and snapped back into my left eye. The pain was like a hot sword had been shoved through my head. I fell down on my hands and knees, and when I saw what looked like gelatin and blood dripping onto the ground, I knew it was bad.

They took me to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, where there's a special eye center. The doctors there operated on me several times but couldn't save my eye. When they told me the news, I wanted to die. I was divorced, and I figured no woman would ever want anything to do with me. All that was left of my eye was white, and my face was swollen and bruised.

Even after I got my prosthetic eye, I couldn't shake the depression. To make matters worse, I lost my job as a transportation officer for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services because of concerns about my driving ability. But one morning, I woke up and the TV was on, and there was this 16-year-old girl. She had been severely burned on her face, hands, and legs and was learning to walk again. She wore a big smile and seemed to look right at me and said, "You can't ever give up." At that moment, I thought, This is just an eye. Get over it.

And I did.

It's been almost 12 years since my accident, and there isn't anything I can't do now that I used to do. Women still seem to like me, and no one can even tell I have a prosthetic eye, because the new one is that good. And although I didn't get my old job back, they reinstated my license, and I haven't had so much as a fender bender in over a million miles of driving.

I read a story once where this man was feeling bad because he had no shoes, until he met a man who had no feet. No matter how devastating your problem is, remember there's always someone somewhere who's worse off. Despite having just one eye, I see things a lot more clearly now.

"I failed to realize my dream, but I've since realized other things …"
--Daryl Nelson, 36, Brooklyn, New York

A record deal. It happened to my best friend and me when we were juniors at Virginia State University playing in a hip-hop band called BizzrXtreemz. I heard that Clive Davis, the founder and president of Arista Records, blessed the deal himself. We dropped out of school to move to New York in the summer of '94. We were 21 years old, and we were on our way.

In order to concentrate on our music, we hired a manager and entrusted him with our $5,000 advance. But one day when we showed up at the studio, we were told we couldn't record anymore because they hadn't been getting paid. Our manager was a crook. With no money of our own, we threw together a few songs, but the quality was horrible. The head of Arista's music department hated them, and we lost the deal.

After six months, it was over.

I remember sitting in a daze under a bridge with winos and homeless people. Nothing had ever hinted at failure. I thought I was destined. Of course, we didn't immediately give up. We cut other demos and took them around town, but after a while, we had to start working to survive. The music never left us; it just became a smaller part of our lives. I'm a benefits coordinator for a union now, the latest in a long string of customer-service jobs I've held in the 15 years since that summer. My partner and I broke up some years back, and I've released a few solo songs under the name River Nelson for a small London-based label. But I'm not chasing the same dream anymore. There comes a time when you have to reassess your dreams and cast out what's lofty or no longer reality. At the same time, though, you keep those things that are valuable, which for me was the resiliency, perseverance, and focus I'd acquired. If you go at it this way, you'll see that the pot of gold is really chasing that pot of gold.

I still do music, but I do it for music's sake now. I've redirected all the energy I used to put into the business of music into other creative things. And that's been a new beginning. I still have a piece of my original dream, but now I also have all these other blessings.

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When Pixels Find New Life on Real Paper

Jodi Hilton for The New York Times

Randall Munroe, creator of the popular Internet comic strip xkcd, plans to venture forth from his playpen filled with plastic balls to publish an actual book.


IT’S not exactly Quentin Tarantino directing Ibsen, or Jeff Gordon racing go-carts, but the idea that Randall Munroe, creator of the online comic strip xkcd — wildly popular among techies the world over for its witty use of programming code in its gags — would for the first time publish a book is still something of a head scratcher.

Not a book for Kindle, I should add. A print book — you know, dead trees, ink, no text search, nonadjustable font size. The plan is for an initial press run of 10,000 copies sometime around June. And judging by the enthusiasm of the strip’s fans, who frequently act out the concepts in the strip in real life, those copies should sell quickly.

So, are we seeing an all-too-rare example of the triumph of print books over digital content? Does even an online legend like the 24-year-old Mr. Munroe crave the respectability of print? (Mr. Munroe once before climbed the respectability ladder when in October he competed against the illustrator Farley Katz of The New Yorker in a “cartoon-off.” No winner was declared.)

In fact, the xkcd story previews the much more likely future of books in which they are prized as artifacts, not as mechanisms for delivering written material to readers. This is print book as vinyl record — admired for its look and feel, its cover art, and relative permanence — but not so much for convenience.

The print xkcd book is not being published through a traditional company but rather by breadpig — which was created by Alexis Ohanian, one of the founders of the social-news Web site reddit. The site has sold high-concept merchandise like refrigerator magnets or T-shirts, but never a book. (Its profits go to the charity Room to Read.)

“We never made any projection — 10,000 seems like a good run,” Mr. Ohanian said, adding that this lack of research “is laughable from the perspective of anyone who knows the book industry. It’s what makes sense.”

The book — with the working title “xkcd,” though Mr. Ohanian says it may carry a subtitle like “a book of romance, sarcasm, math and language” — will not initially be sold in bookstores, and probably never in the big chains. Instead, it will be sold through the xkcd Web site.

“It doesn’t need to be in bookstores,” Mr. Munroe said. “I don’t have hard numbers about this, but the impression I get is that the amount of eyeballs you get from being on the humor shelf at Barnes & Noble — it is almost insignificant.”

Mr. Munroe said he had been contacted by large publishers, particularly those that specialize in comics and graphic novels. “The traditional model is they send us a royalty, and they handle getting it sold,” he said. “We figure that most of our audience is people who know us from the Internet — normal publishers weren’t as interested.”

Naturally, without an established publisher and with a devoted fan base online, the book will not be promoted through traditional publicity. Rather, the plan is to rely on word-of-keyboard.

Such online recommendations, Mr. Ohanian said, were how he discovered xkcd. “The first time xkcd showed up on reddit — it was just good,” he said. “The Internet really facilitates good stuff being read.”

Will there be review copies sent to newspapers and magazines? Good question, Mr. Ohanian said. There’s no reason why not, he quickly concluded.

While Mr. Munroe conceded a nostalgic love of books, remembering how he devoured books of a favorite comic strip, Calvin & Hobbes, he said he is now a committed Kindle 2 user, preferring it to print. Still, he said: “I have this urge. You want to print them out and put them up on places. There is something good about collecting them together.”

Publishing a book is an extension of the selling of items like T-shirts and posters, which pays the bills, he said, to a “free culture” mind-set about the cartoons themselves. “We have been encouraging people to share things, saying that it is a good business decision,” he said. “Instead of trying to convince people, why not make a bunch of money?”

The book will have 150 to 200 of strips out of more than 500 so far published online and is expected to sell for $19. The selection was made by a fan who is also doing the layout for breadpig. “I took a few off and added a few others,” he said.

The book will include a foreword from Mr. Munroe as well as red-ink commentary from him on the most popular strips. One trick in transferring the material from online to print has been how to recreate the “title text” that comments on the strip when your cursor hovers over it.

“It’s not supposed to be a punch line, but hopefully if you didn’t laugh, you’ll laugh at this,” he said. The title text will appear where the tiny copyright notice would appear on a traditional strip.

Does that mean that the book won’t carry a traditional copyright and instead take its lead from the online comic strip itself, which Mr. Munroe licenses under Creative Commons, allowing noncommercial re-use as long as credit is given?

“To anyone who wants to photocopy, bind, and give a copy of the book to their loved one — more power to them,” he said. “He/She will likely be disappointed that you’re so cheap, though.”

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I breastfeed my dad

As Georgia Browne breastfeeds her baby son Monty, nothing could seem more normal or natural. At eight months old, Monty thrives on his mother’s milk, but someone else is also thriving on Georgia’s milk – her father Tim!

That’s because Tim’s battling cancer. He drinks his daughter’s breastmilk every day to boost his immune system and give him the strength to fight the disease.

After researching the idea on the internet, Georgia, 27, expresses her breastmilk as often as she can for her father to drink. He has the milk on his bowl of cornflakes every morning. It’s been his daily routine for the past six months and Tim believes the milk has given him a boost.

A shock diagnosis

Georgia’s world was turned upside-down when her beloved dad was diagnosed with cancer in July 2007, just a week before she was due to get married.

Tim, 67, was admitted to hospital with stomach pains and within hours doctors discovered he had colon cancer. He was rushed into surgery where they operated to remove a tumour. But despite the major surgery, a tearful Tim was released in time to walk Georgia down the aisle.

‘It felt amazing having him at the wedding – it made it more emotional for everyone,’ she says. After the wedding, Georgia’s family rallied to support Tim as he went for further tests and treatment. But within weeks, he was told the cancer had spread. And soon after the family received even more devastating news – the cancer was terminal.

‘It was a terrible shock. He’d never been ill before,’ Georgia says. ‘He still is really fit. He goes to the gym three times a week.’ Tim endured gruelling chemotherapy and after a year went into remission. But the cancer returned when Georgia was pregnant with her first child.

Life-saving milk
Georgia gave birth to Monty last July and began breastfeeding. A month later, she watched a TV documentary in which an American man believed his prostate cancer had been helped because he drank breastmilk.

‘The man went to a milk bank for his supply of breastmilk and drank it in a milkshake,’ Georgia recalls. ‘I started researching on the internet immediately and found separate studies in America and Scandinavia both supporting the health benefits of breastmilk to cancer sufferers.

‘I watched the documentary and thought it was a really mad idea, if it was true,’ she says. 'I started looking on the net and found research suggesting breastmilk helps kill cancer cells.

‘Finding out I could help was amazing. I could play my small part in helping my dad do something positive for his illness. 'When I talked to him about it, he thought it was a great idea. He thought: “Why not?”’

Seeking support
Georgia broached the subject with her family before going ahead. They all thought it was fantastic and supported her 100 per cent. ‘My mum thought it was great and my sisters and brother were supportive,’ she says.

With the family’s blessing, Georgia started expressing her milk for Tim straight away. She dropped the first batch round to her parents’ home in a freezer bag, which her mum popped in the freezer.

‘I thought he’d mix it into a milkshake like the man in the documentary, but when Mum defrosted it the next day, he simply poured it on his cornflakes with a splash of normal cow’s milk. He said it didn’t taste that different to cow’s milk, maybe just a bit sweeter if he didn’t get the mix right,’ Georgia says.

‘I know some people think it’s shocking but we didn’t think it was shocking at all. He thought it was funny. He was telling all his friends about it.’

Tim spoke to his doctors and nurses about drinking breastmilk and they were more than happy for him to try the unconventional treatment. 'They told him that anything that could help was positive,’ Georgia explains. ‘They were very supportive and backed the idea.’

Hope at last
A month after starting the regimen, a scan of Tim’s cancer showed a slight, but distinct, improvement. Although doctors can’t say whether the breastmilk’s helped, Georgia says he’s brighter and has more energy.

She has promised to continue feeding Tim for as long as she can. 'He has been having chemo as well as drinking the milk so there’s no way of really finding out if it is helping,’ Georgia explains. ‘I’m still feeding Monty so I feed him first, then I fill a bag for my dad. We’ll continue as long as I am breastfeeding.

‘It feels like I’m doing the most natural thing for the people I love. 'I’ve been there when he has drunk it and it’s just not an issue. 'Not many women can say their dad drinks their breastmilk. But I would do anything to give my dad more time with me, our family and Monty.’

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Red-Hot Redheads: Cool Facts About Carrot Tops

By Allison Ford

We’ve all heard that blondes are dumb, brunettes are smart and dependable, and that curly-haired women are unhinged, but of all the hair stereotypes out there, no one suffers more injustice than redheads do. Throughout history, they’ve been subjected to discrimination and fearful prejudice, being viewed as untrustworthy, mischievous, temperamental, and lustful. In ancient Egypt, red hair was seen as so unlucky, red-haired girls were burned alive. According to Greek myths, redheads turn into vampires when they die. It’s even said that redheads get stung by bees more often. Ouch!

It can be hard to grow up with red hair, constantly getting called names like “ginger” and “carrot top.” Having the rarest hair color might make a redhead feel awkward, but it turns out that there are some special attributes that make them pretty unique. Maybe they’re the ones who have more fun. At the very least, their hair doesn’t go gray.

The Rarity of Red
In the late 1990s, scientists discovered that gene mutation causes red headedness. Specifically, it’s a variant of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), one of the key proteins that determines hair and skin color. The mutated gene is recessive, so in order for someone to have red hair, she has to inherit two copies of the gene, one from each parent. Lots of people, especially those with Northern European ancestry, carry one copy of MC1R, but relatively few carry the two copies required for flaming tresses. Red hair can occur in any ethnicity, but the greatest concentration of redheads originates in Northern Europe, near the U.K. Scotland has the highest percentage of natural redheads, with 13 percent and Ireland is a close second, with 10 percent. Only about 2 percent of people in the United States have naturally red hair.

If red hair is so rare, why does it occur so often in the same geographic area? Some biologists think that it’s an evolutionary adaptation. In cold and dark climates, fair coloring lets the skin absorb more light, which encourages the body to retain heat and produce more vitamin D. Also, for most of human history, people didn’t stray very far from the place where they were born and intermarried with people with similar genetic traits. When there were plenty of people carrying the gene, their children were very likely to get two copies of the mutated MC1R. Now that people migrate more, carriers of MC1R are more likely to intermarry with non-carriers. That’s good for genetic diversity, but maybe not so good for the survival of redheads in general.

For the past few years, there’s been a rumor that redheads are going extinct, but that’s not exactly true. Because of intermarriage, the numbers are declining, but there will always be redheads, because there will always be carriers of the MC1R gene. It might be less likely that one carrier will meet another and have redheaded children, but it’s always a possibility. In fact, it’s not so far-fetched to imagine a future where everyone knows exactly what’s in his or her genome, and MC1R carriers can choose to have children with fellow carriers, maximizing the likelihood that their children will have red hair.

A Redheaded “Knockout?”
The mutated MC1R gene has some other surprising effects. Although doctors and medical practitioners have long speculated that redheads were harder to sedate, a recent study from the University of Louisville determined that redheads really do require more anesthesia during surgery.

The researchers ran an experiment where they put women under sedation, and then tested their response to pain. The redheaded patients required 20 to 30 percent more anesthetic than other women to achieve the same level of sedation. Scientists at the university also tried to replicate the experiment with mice, and found that animals with a MC1R mutation required more sedation, too. They theorize that the mutated gene somehow has implications beyond hair color, and perhaps affects hormones or enzymes involved in our neurological system.

The Siren Song of Red Hair
Throughout history, redheads have been mistrusted and maligned. In medieval Europe, the infamous witch-hunting manual, Malleus Maleficarum, instructed that red hair and green eyes were marks of a witch, as were freckles, which redheads tend to have aplenty. This belief might have stemmed from the general consensus that redheads were evil, wanton, and hot-tempered. In the Bible, Mary Magdalene and Judas Iscariot are often portrayed as redheads, as was Lilith, Adam’s first wife who insisted on sexual equality. Even Jonathan Swift, in his 1726 classic Gulliver’s Travels, characterized redheads as being wanton and promiscuous.

There might actually be some truth to the myth of the lustful redhead. A recent study by a sex researcher in Hamburg, Germany found that women with red hair had sex more often. Another survey in England duplicated those findings, and reported that redheads had sex an average of three times per week, compared to twice per week for blondes and brunettes. For these studies, it didn’t matter whether the women’s hair was naturally red or Natural Instincts. Of all the women who color their hair, 30 percent choose to become redheads—more than the 27 percent who go brunette and the 26 percent who go blonde. Some scientists theorize that these women are capitalizing on the perception of the fiery redhead to signal to men that they are looking for partners.

Even if redheads do have to endure a lifetime of sunburns and being called “ginger,” their hair doesn’t just make them stand out, it makes them incredibly unique. Some famous fiery redheads include Queen Elizabeth I, Galileo, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon, and Vincent Van Gogh. More recent redheads include comedienne Lucille Ball and birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger. Not exactly a bad crowd to be associated with, if you ask me. If this is the company that redheads keep, then I’m off to the salon.

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Italian scientist, turning 100, still works

Italian neurologist and senator for life Rita Levi Montalcini, Nobel Prize AP – Italian neurologist and senator for life Rita Levi Montalcini, Nobel Prize winner for Medicine in 1986, …

ROME – Rita Levi Montalcini, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, said Saturday that even though she is about to turn 100, her mind is sharper than it was she when she was 20.

Levi Montalcini, who also serves as a senator for life in Italy, celebrates her 100th birthday on Wednesday, and she spoke at a ceremony held in her honor by the European Brain Research Institute.

She shared the 1986 Nobel Prize for Medicine with American Stanley Cohen for discovering mechanisms that regulate the growth of cells and organs.

"At 100, I have a mind that is superior — thanks to experience — than when I was 20," she told the party, complete with a large cake for her.

The Turin-born Levi Montalcini recounted how the anti-Jewish laws of the 1930s under Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime forced her to quit university and do research in an improvised laboratory in her bedroom at home.

"Above all, don't fear difficult moments," she said. "The best comes from them."

"I should thank Mussolini for having declared me to be of an inferior race. This led me to the joy of working, not any more unfortunately, in university institutes but in a bedroom," the scientist said.

Her white hair elegantly coifed and wearing a smart navy blue suit, she raised a glass of sparkling wine in a toast to her long life.

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Woman handed Asbo for loud sex sessions after neighbours complained to police 25 times

By Daily Mail Reporter

A woman has been given an Asbo banning her from making too much noise when having sex with her husband.

Caroline Cartwright was found guilty of breaching a noise abatement notice served on her after 25 complaints to police.

The 47-year-old denied the latest five charges but was found guilty after Sunderland magistrates listened to recordings of her loud lovemaking with husband Steve.

Steve and Caroline Cartwright

Screams: Caroline Cartwright and husband Steve's loud, marathon sex sessions kept their partially deaf neighbour Margery Ball awake at night for two years

The couple’s partially deaf neighbour Margery Ball said she had not had a decent night’s sleep in two years because of the noise made by the couple.

As well as being given an Asbo, Mrs Cartwright was yesterday fined £200 with £300 costs.

She was taken to court after Environmental Health officers placed recording equipment in the flat next door to her house in Concord, Tyne and Wear.

Her neighbour, Rachel O’Connor, pressed a button on the machine every time she was disturbed by noise from next door.

She told the court: ‘I heard sounds of a sexual nature, they were really loud, and there was a lot of moaning and groaning and screaming as if in pain.

‘It wasn’t just the woman, it came from both parties.’

Miss O’Connor told the court that when she first moved into the flat, in November 2007, the noise started at midnight and lasted until 3am.

Now, she said, the noise started at about 6.30am and lasted until 9am.

Environmental Health officer Pamela Spark told the court she had listened to 23 recordings of the couple having sex.

She said: ‘There was an excessive screaming female voice on the recordings.’

Mrs Cartwright told the court that she was not ‘making the noise on purpose’.

She added: ‘I can’t understand why people ask me to be quiet. It’s normal to me.’

But chairman of the magistrates Alan Griffins said: ‘You were ordered to refrain from screaming and shouting at such levels when engaging in sexual activity with your husband.

‘You could have made efforts to minimise your vocalisation while having sex. You have not shown due respect for other human beings.’

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Giant robot spider in Yokohama (pics/ video)

La Princesse mechanized spider in Yokohama --

A pair of giant robotic spiders designed and built by French performance art group La Machine have come to Yokohama to take part in the upcoming Expo Y150, a 5-month festival commemorating the 150th anniversary of the opening of the city’s port.

La Princesse giant spider robot in Yokohama --

Although the Expo Y150 festivities are not scheduled to officially begin until the end of April, the enormous steampunk spiders could be seen prowling the Yokohama waterfront this weekend.

Here is some superb video of the spectacle on Friday (April 17) night, when one of the 12-meter (40-ft) tall, 37-ton mechanical spiders was observed in the red brick warehouse area of Yokohama — far from its natural habitat of Nantes, France.

+ Video

On Saturday (April 18) evening, one of the mechanical spiders performed a water dance at Shinko Pier while the other looked on from its perch atop a nearby shipping container. For the performance, the spider moved its mechanical legs and shot steam and water and from its mouth and rear end, while suspended over the water from a large crane. Water cannons, fog machines, lights and live atmospheric music added to the drama.

La Machine's mechanical spider in Yokohama --

On Sunday (April 19), both spiders were scheduled to depart Shinko Pier, take a stroll up Nihon-Odori street, and head back to the red brick warehouse area.

La Machine's giant arachnid robot in Yokohama --

La Machine’s giant spiders will be on public display at Expo Y150 from April 28 to September 27.

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