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  • Rethinking the War on Cancer

    After billions spent on research and decades of hit-or-miss treatments, it's time to rethink the war on cancer.
  • New Orleans Mayor: Please Don't Come Home Yet

    By ROBERT TANNER and VICKI SMITHAssociated Press WritersNEW ORLEANSnews://newsclip.ap.org/dc5f8abc-21fe-4fff-9fb2-5432b8cac360@news.ap.org0902dvs_gustav_evacueesAnxious evacuees scattered across the country clamored to come home Tuesday after their city was largely spared by Hurricane Gustav, but Mayor Ray Nagin warned they may have to wait in shelters and motels a few days longer.The city's improved levee system helped avert a disaster like Hurricane Katrina, which flooded most of the city, and officials got an assist from a disorganized and weakened Gustav, which came ashore about 72 miles southwest of the city Monday morning. Eight deaths were attributed to the storm in the U.S. after it killed at least 94 people across the Caribbean.But New Orleans was still a city that took a glancing blow from a hurricane: A mandatory evacuation order and curfew remained in effect. Electric crews started work on restoring power to the nearly 80,000 homes in New Orleans _ and more than 1...
  • The Success of the Chickenpox Vaccine

    A CDC expert on the success of the chickenpox vaccine and why every child should get a booster shot to prevent new outbreaks of the potentially serious disease.
  • Battle Over Seattle Plastic Bag Tax

    Economist Peter Nickerson, 56, is a proud resident of Seattle, arguably the capital of green America, so it almost goes without saying that he supports aggressive environmental policies. He'd like to see his city make public transit free to reduce vehicle emissions. He wants to ban pesticides in rivers where salmon swim. He's a devoted recycler who even composts his own trash. Surely, then, he must love Seattle's new bag tax? (Starting in 2009, it would require drug, grocery and convenience stores to charge 20 cents per disposable bag.) Actually, Nickerson thinks it's a terrible idea.A tiny tax with big environmental potential would seem like a natural fit for Seattle. Other U.S. cities, such as San Francisco, have banned certain disposable bags; Seattle would be the first to tax them. "We know it won't solve global warming," says Mayor Greg Nickels, "but a small change in behavior can make a big difference." According to a city survey from late 2007, though, 63 percent of...
  • Mail Call: Globally Green

    Readers of our July 7/July 14 issue on green nations praised our coverage. "A veritable page turner," cheered one. Another agreed: "I read it with great enthusiasm." A third "appreciated the detailed information," smartly questioned France's "clean energy" record, and then rejected the nuclear option. ...
  • Meds Shmeds, Gimme Fries

    One study found that 74 percent of teens dramatically overestimate their ability to manage their asthma.
  • Should You Tan to Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency?

    A slew of recent books and studies have touted the benefits of vitamin D and the perils of not getting enough vitamin D; some even encourage lying in the sun and taking vitamin supplements in order to prevent depression. But dermatologists say more time soaking up the rays isn't necessary—most Americans get all the vitamin D they need just by going outside in the course of their daily duties, and beyond that, it's easy to get adequate levels of the vitamin through nutrients in food. "Sunlight helps us produce vitamin D, but the amount of sunlight you need is so low that you could walk outside for probably five minutes and have enough," says Craig Austin, a New York-based dermatologist and founder of AB Skincare.Vitamin D is important because it helps with calcium absorption; it's found in foods ranging from milk and cheese to liver, beef, fish and eggs. Many cereals are now fortified with vitamin D, as well; most people who follow normal diets probably don't need to take vitamin D...
  • Thank a Grandmother

    Why do animals, notably women, outlive their reproductive years? Nature would seem to have little or no use for us once we reach middle age, let alone our dotage; after all, the only thing evolution cares about—by which I mean, acts on—is how many offspring we leave. Why, then, should we live beyond the time when we can reproduce? ...
  • Should Swimmers Shake Water Out of Their Ears?

    If water gets caught in your ear after a swim, jumping up and down will help get it out, but only if you've tilted your head and pulled on the ear so that the canal is at an angle for water to run out, says Ted Epperly, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "Hopping up and down only increases the gravitational force by which that will come out," Epperly says. Other solutions include Q-tips and using a hairdryer on a low setting.But if you have pain, prolonged blockage or long-term congestion, get it checked out: Leaving water trapped in the ear canal can be dangerous. It makes the skin inside become soggy, and a cut can allow bacteria from contaminated water to infect the outer ear and ear canal, resulting in acute otitis externa, or swimmer's ear. That causes symptoms ranging from severe pain, itchiness, swelling and fullness in and around the ear, to pus and decreased hearing. It can be prevented by leaving foreign objects out of your ear, not swimming in...
  • Philanthropy inChina: Thanks for the Offer, But …

    Officials in China's devastated Sichuan province are getting a crash course in a novel concept: accepting philanthropy. Since the May 12 earthquake that killed nearly 70,000 people and destroyed homes across the region, millions may have been lost because officials were leery of taking money from nongovernmental organizations and private donors. In just one county, Mianzhu, a team from McKinsey Greater China recovered $2.2 million in a single week, says Qiu Tian, project manager for the pro bono effort. Her team scoured the local government's departmental logbooks for unreturned phone calls, rang back 50 neglected donors and persuaded 15 of them to renew their offers.The problem isn't corruption or even plain incompetence. All public life in China was state-controlled until recently (anything sensitive still is), and many not-for-profit groups are barely legal even now. Local officials can't help being nervous about working with them; in other parts of the world NGOs have been...