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  • My Turn: An Unlikely Ladies' Ice Hockey League

    Throughout my life, my relationships with other women have, at times, been strained. I always felt more comfortable around boys growing up. Friendships with other girls were stressful and uncertain. I found some comfort in groups of women during college, but often with an undercurrent of competition for men, grades or recognition.All that changed one winter when I strapped on a pair of skates and stepped onto the ice rink. I was working as an intern at Wolf Ridge, an Environmental Learning Center (ELC) near Silver Bay, in northern Minnesota. Not much comes easily in that part of Minnesota, especially during the long, frigid winter months. The folks who call this area home are determined to enjoy the weeks of minus-30-degree temperatures in the winter as well as the heat of summers. These families are understandably wary of the "weekend warriors" who journey north from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area to their cabins for weekends in milder seasons. The majority of naturalists who...
  • Can States Close the Research Funding Gap?

    Last week, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced a plan to boost the state budget for life sciences by $1.25 billion. The proposal immediately grabbed attention for its vision of a vast stem-cell bank, the world's largest, which would open up new opportunities for embryonic stem-cell research. It's a reaction, of course, to the federal government's refusal to pay for such work. But amid the excitement over stem cells, another part of Patrick's proposal got overlooked. It, too, addresses a crisis of funding at the federal level, albeit one that has gotten far less press: the stagnating budget of the National Institutes of Health, a problem that is hurting not just stem- cell researchers but biologists at large, particularly young researchers at the most vulnerable points in their careers.The NIH was once flush with money. Its budget doubled between 1998 and 2003 on the strength of enthusiastic support in Congress. Universities responded, hiring faculty and starting ambitious...
  • Will Diet Coke Be the Same … With Vitamins?

    For most of the last century vice was defined by critic Alexander Woollcott's remark that everything he liked was "illegal, immoral or fattening." That, though, was before the invention of Diet Coke. "It's my one vice," says Amy Stensrud, a 46-year-old Seattle mother of two, who buys a 32-ounce container of Diet Coke at a 7-Eleven every morning, right after the gym. She has in effect defined vice upward as something "inconsistent with my values," which was never Woollcott's problem with bathtub gin.But now her only sin is in danger of being transformed into a virtue, as Coke rolls out a new version of Diet Coke with added vitamins and minerals. Blue-capped bottles of Diet Coke Plus will begin showing up in stores this week, empty of calories but containing 10 to 15 percent of the daily requirement of niacin, zinc, magnesium and vitamins B6 and B12. It isn't meant to replace Diet Coke, now the third best-selling soft drink in America, after Coke Classic and Pepsi; it's just a part of...
  • Q&A: A Prudential VP on Her Transition

    Margaret Stumpp, 54, is a vice president at Prudential Financial Inc. A 20-year veteran, she is the first openly transgender person at the firm, which has nearly 40,000 employees. Stumpp transitioned from Mark Stumpp to Maggie in February 2002, all while maintaining her position as chief investment officer for Quantitative Management Associates (a subsidiary of Prudential). When Stumpp returned to the office as Maggie, she sent this memo to her fellow employees: "From: M. Stumpp. Subject: Me." "This will be new ground for all of us," Stumpp wrote. "However, if September 11 taught us anything, it was that life is far too precious and short. Each of us must strive to be at peace with ourselves." She signed the note "Margaret."  She spoke with NEWSWEEK's Lorraine Ali. ...
  • Alexis Arquette on the Politics of Gender Change

    Seventeen-year-old Alexis Arquette landed her first acting role in 1986 playing a transgender in "Last Exit To Brooklyn." Eighteen years later, she went through a real transition from man to woman. Arquette, an actress, musician and cabaret drag performer, comes from a family of actors that includes siblings Patricia, David, Richmond and Rosanna Arquette, father Lewis Arquette and grandfather Cliff Arquette. She's done almost 70 films—mostly indie, some adult—but one of her most memorable roles was as the Boy George character in  1998's "The Wedding Singer." "I did play transgender characters that were comedy roles and I feel bad about that now," says Arquette, 37. "That Boy George character, it's offensive to me now."  She's now starring in a forthcoming A&E documentary about her transition, "Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother," which just debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. ...
  • My Turn: A Hospice Volunteer's Reward

    Too many people die in pain and fear because their families are afraid to discuss death. How being a hospice volunteer can be life-affirming and even joyful.
  • Sounding the Alarms on the ER Crisis

    It's a familiar story: America's emergency rooms are in crisis. But it's far worse than you think. How does the ER prepare for a terrorist attack when its medics can barely cope with the routine flow of mayhem on a Saturday night? A worried doctor traveled to Washington to sound the alarms.
  • Portrait of an ER at the Breaking Point

    Gunshot wounds. Blood and brain matter. Exhausted nurses, endless wait times—and no end in sight. The only thing scarier than an average Saturday evening in the ER: What if it was forced to close? One night in Atlanta.
  • How to Stop the Bleeding

    Emergency-room health care is in a state of emergency. What the best minds in the medical community prescribe to begin to treat the crisis.
  • Docs Change the Way They Think About Death

    Consider someone who has just died of a heart attack. His organs are intact, he hasn't lost blood. All that's happened is his heart has stopped beating—the definition of "clinical death"—and his brain has shut down to conserve oxygen. But what has actually died?As recently as 1993, when Dr. Sherwin Nuland wrote the best seller "How We Die," the conventional answer was that it was his cells that had died. The patient couldn't be revived because the tissues of his brain and heart had suffered irreversible damage from lack of oxygen. This process was understood to begin after just four or five minutes. If the patient doesn't receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation within that time, and if his heart can't be restarted soon thereafter, he is unlikely to recover. That dogma went unquestioned until researchers actually looked at oxygen-starved heart cells under a microscope. What they saw amazed them, according to Dr. Lance Becker, an authority on emergency medicine at the University of...
  • Is TV Turning Tots into Crib Potatoes?

    According to a new study, a surprising number of babies and toddlers have televisions in their bedrooms. Are we creating a generation of crib potatoes?
  • Up Close & Edible: Apple Cider Vinegar

    Word on the yoga mats is that a few daily tablespoons of apple cider vinegar could be the miracle potion for melting away fat, buoying the immune system, restoring arthritic joints and even curing gout—among a host of other ailments. Much of the hype comes from old folk tales and suave marketers. Dieticians and scientists have a different story: vinegar's most magical, confirmed benefit may just be as a tasty, low-cal condiment.Myths about apple cider vinegar date back to the 17th century. In 1820, poet Lord Byron—who reputedly suffered from anorexia nervosa and bulimia—made popular the vinegar and water diet, a regimen the American Dietetic Association (ADA) today includes on its list of fad diets. In the late 1950s, D.C. Jarvis's popular book "Folk Medicine" praised apple cider vinegar as the solution for a range of ailments—from chronic fatigue, to arthritis, to fat pulverizing. And Patricia Bragg of Bragg Live Foods Inc., a California-based company that is one of the leading...
  • Her Body: Interview With a Former Fat Girl

    In a new book that pulls no punches, Lisa Delaney describes how she changed her life, dropped 70 pounds and kept the weight off. All about the 'mint-chocolate chip incident.'
  • A Prostate Cancer Revolution?

    Prostate cancer is the second leading cancer killer among men, after lung cancer. The American Cancer Society projects that in 2007 there will be 219,000 new cases and 27,000 deaths. Yet detecting the disease early has always been problematic. The only blood test available now—a test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA)—is not good at distinguishing malignancies from benign prostate enlargement (BPH). And it's useless for separating aggressive cancers from others that are so slow-growing they will likely never cause problems.But a new blood test, described this week in the journal Urology, could change all that. In a study of 385 men, the new test was able to distinguish BPH from prostate cancer, and it pinpointed men who were healthy, even when their PSA levels were higher than normal. It also did the reverse—singling out men with cancer, even when their PSA levels were low. It may also distinguish cancer confined to the prostate from cancer that has spread beyond the gland. And it...
  • How Doctors Think and (Hopefully) Avoid Mistakes

    Angelos Delivorrias, director of the Benaki Museum in Athens, knew at a glance that the marble statue of a young man was a fake. True, before purchasing the piece, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles had hired legions of experts, who concurred with its dating to the sixth century B.C. But Delivorrias was responding to his instinctive feeling on first seeing the piece, a sense of "intuitive repulsion." And he was most likely right, as the journalist Malcolm Gladwell recounted in his 2005 book, "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking." The Getty now lists the statue as a possible "modern forgery."Dr. Pat Croskerry knew at a glance that the patient in his emergency room wasn't having a heart attack. True, he had a sudden onset of severe chest pain, but Croskerry relied on his initial impression of a trim, athletic man in his early 40s. His test results were normal, so Croskerry diagnosed a muscle pull and sent him home. He was wrong, as the author and physician Jerome Groopman...
  • My Turn: I Had That Now-Banned Abortion

    It was Friday afternoon at nursery school and Simone just couldn't wait until Mother's Day to give me her present—a tote bag printed with a photo of the two of us.  When we got home, Toby greeted me with the card he'd made for me in kindergarten.  We all looked forward to dad coming home from a business trip.  It was the start of a perfect Mother's Day weekend.  I was 40, and I was joyfully pregnant.  "It'll be three kids by next Mother's Day," I remember thinking. When Monday came, I called my doctor for the results of my quadruple screen blood test from the past week, nothing I really sweated because a CVS test a couple months before had told us that our baby's chromosomes were completely normal. This time though, the doctor said that one of the screening tests concerned him and asked me to go to the hospital right away.The ultrasound technician's silence told David and me that something was very wrong.  The doctor explained that the baby had anencephaly, a neural tube defect. ...
  • Wars For Water?

    For years, experts and pundits have predicted that conflicts will increase over an ever scarcer and more valuable commodity: water. The fear has been that as populations grow and development spreads, vicious battles will erupt between water-rich and water-poor nations, particularly in major river basins where upstream nations control the flow of water to those downstream. To the doomsayers, global warming will only make those battles worse by decreasing rainfall and increasing evaporation in critical areas.The argument has a certain logic. Consider the Colorado River, a major water source for seven U.S. states and part of northwestern Mexico. Even now the Colorado can barely meet the needs of the many millions who rely on it. If water levels drop, according to Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California, it "could derail the system altogether," igniting bruising fights over ever-diminishing supplies. Things could get even uglier over the Nile (shared by Egypt,...
  • Hot On the Pole

    Time was when the polar bears looked like the best hope for Churchill, Manitoba. The tiny settlement (population: 1,000) in northern Canada had seen the closure of a nearby military base, and its port was in decline. Only the bears that roamed the tundra—this is the self-styled Polar Bear Capital of the World—and the beluga whales in the waters of the adjacent Hudson Bay pulled in visitors. Ten years ago, Ottawa decided to cuts its losses and sell the port to the U.S. railroad company OmniTRAX for just $1 and a promise to invest in its creaky infrastructure. Mike Ogborn, the company's managing director, says: "We stepped in when no one else wanted to be there."Smart move. The slow disappearance of the polar ice cap is transforming Churchill's prospects. The bears may be unhappy, but the entire region, stretching from Alaska to the northern tip of Norway and on to Siberia, is acquiring new economic and geostrategic significance. Oilmen yearn for easier access to the mineral wealth...
  • An African Revolution

    It's no surprise to hear that climate change is already hitting tropical Africa hard, as floods swamp the east and droughts plague the south. Such changes are hard to cope with in rich places.But keep reading: a burgeoning green revolution is already helping Africans adapt, enriching barren soil, training farmers and providing them with hardy hybrid seeds, and working with the private sector to help farmers enter the marketplace. And these programs are more effective and cheaper than previous efforts.Ethiopia has doubled its grain-food production in the last 12 years and may double it again. Last year Malawi, whose neighbors suffered food shortages, harvested twice the maize of the previous year. The explanation? National policies based on good science, providing farmers with fertilizer to overcome the lack of nitrogen and phosphorous in their soils and specially bred seeds that are higher yield and more pest- and drought-resistant.The Millennium Villages program, run by Columbia...
  • 'We Are a Nation-State'

    INTERVIEW: 'The Governator' walks where Washington fears to tread when it comes to global warming.
  • Q&A: Gary Yohe on Vulnerable Nations

    No matter what action we take to reduce emissions, the carbon already in the atmosphere will continue to warm the globe over the next century, creating winners and losers in business and agriculture. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported earlier this month, developing countries will have a particularly difficult time adapting to the rising sea levels and altered agricultural cycles, while developed countries of the north will have an easier time of it. Gary Yohe, an economist at Wesleyan University, has studied the potential damage from global climate change. The leader of the team that created the vulnerability index featured in this week’s issue of NEWSWEEK International, he spoke to Barrett Sheridan about adapting to a warmer world. Excerpts: ...
  • Leadership & the Environment: Green Issues

    No sooner did James McCarthy's name turn up in an associated Press story on the outlook for global warming than he started getting outraged e-mails from colleagues. All that McCarthy, a Harvard oceanographer who studies how climate change affects marine life, told the AP last week was that "the worst stuff is not going to happen ... not that I think the projections aren't that [accurate], but because we can't be that stupid." The overwhelming response, he said, was, What do you mean, we can't be that stupid? Just look around!On that very question could hinge the fate of much of life on Earth. Last week was bracketed by two events that could make 2007 a turning point in the effort to control global warming. On Monday, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had the power under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. This victory for environmentalists was quickly snatched away by President Bush, who announced the next day that...
  • Climate Change and the Economy

    For centuries, the iconic trading floor at Lloyd's of London, the world's largest insurance market, has bustled with pin-striped underwriters whose job it is to predict the future. They used to use painstakingly detailed 50-year averages to forecast looming natural disasters. Then the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 hit, blowing the old averages out of the water. In less than two years, seven out of the 10 costliest storms in history ravaged the U.S. coast; in 2005 alone, they cost Lloyd's syndicates and other insurers almost $60 billion—a number at the very top of their worst-case scenarios."When something extreme happens as a result of climate change, we're the ones who have to pick up the tab," says Lloyd's chairman, Peter Levene. Accordingly, the insurance company has warned in a recent report that unless it and its competitors start making better use of climate-change predictions, the whole industry could collapse.To make sure it doesn't, Lloyd's has undergone a remarkable...
  • This Way Forward

    Something weird is happening to the world's weather. Ski slopes in central Japan and the Alps were still green weeks after the start of the season. Giant hornets, once found only in the Far East, are now swarming in a warmer France. In the Australian outback, the worst drought on record is driving wild camels crazy with thirst. The global thermostat is malfunctioning. Everywhere nature is unsettled and, most likely, mankind deserves much of the blame.Those are the generally agreed facts. Global warming is now a reality that even die-hard skeptics struggle to dispute. The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts temperatures will rise 4 degrees Celsius or more by the end of the century. Clearly, prompt action to limit CO2 emissions is needed. But it's just as clear that, whatever we do, temperatures will continue to climb—and that even a modest increase will tilt the world's economic and political balance. Put simply, in the short term there will be winners...
  • Mosquito Trajectory

    Mosquitoes like warm air, and they breed in water—that much we know. It stands to reason that the bugs would flourish in a world that is getting warmer and wetter. "We're seeing changes in the Himalayas, the highlands of Africa, in the Andes and up into Mexico and in other places in Asia, too," says Paul Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University. "We're seeing a very consistent pattern in highland regions throughout the globe." Is this a taste of what's to come?Some studies say yes. One found that temperature increases from 0.5 degrees to 3 degrees can double the population of Anopheles mosquitoes, which carry malaria, and double the speed at which dengue incubates in the Aedes aegypti mosquito, suggesting that its infectious life would increase. And temperature rises can extend a mosquito's range and lengthen the biting season. Climate models have the risk of catching dengue rising to 74 percent by 2050 and the number of...
  • Untold Harvest

    Extreme weather has always sustained India's population. Monsoons allow crops like millet to grow in the deserts of Rajasthan. But last year, when those formerly arid lands suddenly got three times their usual rainfall, villagers were panicked. The solution? Grow thirstier crops like wheat, mustard and spices. The result? A flooded area of Barmer, usually bone-dry part of Rajasthan, enjoyed a $3 million harvest last year, nearly 90 percent above the norm. "We can't change a natural phenomenon," says Barmer Deputy Commissioner Subir Kumar, who encouraged the replanting. "But with innovative ideas, we can perhaps use them to our advantage."Climate Cassandras have always said that a warming planet would be particularly bad for farmers—vast stretches of the earth's prime arable land area would be submerged and even larger portions overrun by desert. But as havoc looms, so do new opportunities. Spiking temperatures and wild swings in weather are turning green belts into dust bowls—but...
  • Who Will Win, and Who Will Lose

    America is scared of global warming. In a recent poll by Yale's Center for Environmental Law and Policy, 83 percent of Americans called global warming a "serious" problem, up from 70 percent in 2004, and 63 percent agreed that the United States "is in as much danger" from environmental threats including global warming "as it is from terrorists."If even gas-guzzling Americans are alive to the danger, you know most nations now accept climate change as real. But how will they adapt? Some are well positioned to weather changes in climate that will affect agriculture, trade, housing and poverty; others aren't. To identify who's ready and who's not, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asked some scientists to turn their attention to assessing countries at risk. One groundbreaking recent study by Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), came up with a way to rank nations by how prepared they are to adapt to climate change,...
  • 'Crisis'? 'Change'?—War of the Words

    What is the most pressing environmental issue we face today? "Global warming"? The "greenhouse effect"? At the Oscar ceremonies, Al Gore referred to a "climate crisis," but in his State of the Union address President Bush chose the comparatively anodyne phrase "climate change." They all refer to the same thing, but the first rule of modern political discourse is that before addressing any empirical problem each side must "frame the debate" in the most favorable way. If you doubt it, just try to get a Republican to utter the phrase "estate tax" rather than "death tax." Behind the overt campaign to head off whatever it is—environmental heating? thermal catastrophe?—is a covert struggle over what we should even call it.In recent years this has played out largely as a contest between "global warming" and "climate change." Bush's use of the latter was consistent with Republican practice, which calls for de-emphasizing the urgency of the situation, as recommended in a 2002 memo by...
  • Where China's Rivers Run Dry

    The view from the top of the luxurious Morgan Centre (which will soon host a seven-star hotel) down onto Beijing's Olympic Green, where the 2008 Summer Games will begin in less than 500 days, is breathtaking. There, far below, lies the stunning Herzog & de Meuron-designed "bird nest" Olympic Stadium. Right next to it is the equally mesmerizing National Aquatics Center, a square structure with bubbled blue translucent walls known as the Water Cube. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has called this soon-to-be-completed sports complex "nothing short of staggering."How successfully Beijing has turned the Games into a global coming-out party is—for anyone who, like me, came to know China when Mao still held sway—a mind-bending accomplishment. What has happened here in the intervening years is perhaps the most dramatic story of national transformation in human history. However, the environmental costs of China's hell-bent development have been severe. The...
  • Q&A: Our Fear Is Getting In the Way

    The standard scare stories about global warming don't worry Robert Mendelsohn. For more than 10 years, the Yale economist has been studying the likely impact of climate change. Convinced that manmade change is underway, he's nevertheless skeptical of prescriptions that call for a drastic response. So far, he says, the changes to our weather have been modest and can be addressed over time with less costly measures. But moderate voices like his, according to Mendelsohn, are being drowned out by extremists. He talked to NEWSWEEK's William Underhill. Excerpts: ...
  • Vineyards On the Move

    It sounds like a vintner's nightmare: Sharp shifts in temperature help trigger potent off-season rains that bloat grapes with unwanted moisture. Then an overpowering heat wave withers vines and shrivels grapes. Desperate winemakers advance the harvest by as much as a month to save what they can. This is no vineyard horror film; it's a description of some of the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and merlot harvests in parts of southern and western France.And boy, was it good. In a decade that keeps breaking records for heat, we're already sipping climate-changed wines. Hot years like 2000 and 2006 produced some stellar, rich, full-bodied and mature Bordeaux, but the 2003 heat-wave harvest was the best in memory—at least until the hot harvest of 2005. Global-warming cru is more flavorful, fruitier, less acidic and higher in alcohol content than the average-temperature stuff, a near-perfect fit for today's wine drinkers. And these hot wines tend to come mature, so even a big Bordeaux no longer...