Herbal Viagra actually contains the real thing



































IF IT looks too good to be true, it probably is. Several "herbal remedies" for erectile dysfunction sold online actually contain the active ingredient from Viagra.












Michael Lamb at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, and colleagues purchased 10 popular "natural" uplifting remedies on the internet and tested them for the presence of sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra. They found the compound, or a similar synthetic drug, in seven of the 10 products – cause for concern because it can be dangerous for people with some medical conditions.












Lamb's work was presented last week at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting in Washington DC.












This article appeared in print under the headline "Herbal Viagra gets a synthetic boost"


















































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Education Minister urges schools to maintain long-term partnerships






SINGAPORE: Singapore Education Minister Heng Swee Keat has urged schools here to maintain long-term partnerships, which will enrich the community.

He was speaking at Yishun Junior College's (YJC) Celebrating Values Day on Saturday.

It is a carnival to raise funds for charities such as the President's Challenge and Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore.

YJC has roped in partners to organise the event - such as parent support groups and other schools in the neighbourhood.

The event also saw Mr Heng launching a book of values. The minister autographed ten copies of the book.

The school will keep a copy, while the remaining nine will be given to well-wishers who pledge at least S$500 to beneficiaries.

Mr Heng said: "YJC is creating a ripple effect in spreading the message to the community that values ought to be celebrated, that we will care for people in need, that we'll nurture the young. These are the values that will uplift our society and will give all Singaporeans a brighter future."

- CNA/xq



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Officials: Florida sinkhole still growing; man missing








A central Florida man was still missing and feared dead early today after a sinkhole opened under his home Thursday night, swallowing him in his bed.

As hours passed overnight and rescuers and family lost hope of seeing 36-year-old Jeff Bush pulled from the ground alive, the sinkhole continued to grow, officials said.

“The hole has gotten deeper,” geotechnical engineer Larry Madrid said at a news conference Friday evening. “We can’t get into the building because of the potential for sudden collapse.”

The continued instability of the ground slowed engineers and kept evacuees in the Tampa-area neighborhood from returning to their homes.

“We’re really handicapped and paralyzed, and we really can’t do a whole lot more than wait,” Madrid said.

“I know in my heart he's dead,” Bush’s brother Jeremy told reporters Friday.

Authorities condemned the concrete-block home, determining the ground was unstable. Surrounding homes were evacuated, but the hole is isolated to the house, authorities said.

Hillsborough Fire Rescue officials lowered a camera and listening device into the 20-foot-deep hole to try to find Jeffrey Bush. But the ground kept moving and they lost the equipment.

"He's down there, but we can't hear here anything and we can't see anything," said Ronnie Rivera, a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesman. "We just can't do anything."

Structural engineers brought in equipment to determine if rescuers can enter the house. But with each hour that passed, the hope for rescue faded and despair set in.

Late Thursday night, Jeremy Bush heard something that sounded like a car crash, then heard a scream. He ran to his brother’s room, but all he could see was a mattress. He tried to save him and ended up getting stuck himself.

When Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy Douglas Duvall arrived at the home, he yanked Jeremy Bush from the hole and the two were able to escape.

At the news conference Friday evening, Duvall said he couldn’t sleep Thursday night, thinking about the what he’d seen and about Bush's family.

The risk of sinkholes is common in Florida due to the state's porous geological bedrock, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. As rainwater filters down into the ground, it dissolves the rock causing erosion that can lead to underground caverns, which cause sinkholes when they collapse.

Florida suffered one of its worst sinkhole accidents in 1994 when a 15-story-deep chasm opened up east of Tampa at a phosphate mine. It created a hole 185 feet deep and as much as 160 feet wide. Locals dubbed it Disney World's newest attraction - 'Journey to the Center of the Earth.'

In 1981 in Winter Park near Orlando, a sinkhole was measured as 320 feet wide and 90 feet deep, swallowing a two-story house, part of a Porsche dealership, and an Olympic-size swimming pool. The site is now an artificial lake in the city.



From the Los Angeles Times, Reuters and the Orlando Sentinel






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We Didn’t Domesticate Dogs. They Domesticated Us.


In the story of how the dog came in from the cold and onto our sofas, we tend to give ourselves a little too much credit. The most common assumption is that some hunter-gatherer with a soft spot for cuteness found some wolf puppies and adopted them. Over time, these tamed wolves would have shown their prowess at hunting, so humans kept them around the campfire until they evolved into dogs. (See "How to Build a Dog.")

But when we look back at our relationship with wolves throughout history, this doesn't really make sense. For one thing, the wolf was domesticated at a time when modern humans were not very tolerant of carnivorous competitors. In fact, after modern humans arrived in Europe around 43,000 years ago, they pretty much wiped out every large carnivore that existed, including saber-toothed cats and giant hyenas. The fossil record doesn't reveal whether these large carnivores starved to death because modern humans took most of the meat or whether humans picked them off on purpose. Either way, most of the Ice Age bestiary went extinct.

The hunting hypothesis, that humans used wolves to hunt, doesn't hold up either. Humans were already successful hunters without wolves, more successful than every other large carnivore. Wolves eat a lot of meat, as much as one deer per ten wolves every day-a lot for humans to feed or compete against. And anyone who has seen wolves in a feeding frenzy knows that wolves don't like to share.

Humans have a long history of eradicating wolves, rather than trying to adopt them. Over the last few centuries, almost every culture has hunted wolves to extinction. The first written record of the wolf's persecution was in the sixth century B.C. when Solon of Athens offered a bounty for every wolf killed. The last wolf was killed in England in the 16th century under the order of Henry VII. In Scotland, the forested landscape made wolves more difficult to kill. In response, the Scots burned the forests. North American wolves were not much better off. By 1930, there was not a wolf left in the 48 contiguous states of America.  (See "Wolf Wars.")

If this is a snapshot of our behavior toward wolves over the centuries, it presents one of the most perplexing problems: How was this misunderstood creature tolerated by humans long enough to evolve into the domestic dog?

The short version is that we often think of evolution as being the survival of the fittest, where the strong and the dominant survive and the soft and weak perish. But essentially, far from the survival of the leanest and meanest, the success of dogs comes down to survival of the friendliest.

Most likely, it was wolves that approached us, not the other way around, probably while they were scavenging around garbage dumps on the edge of human settlements. The wolves that were bold but aggressive would have been killed by humans, and so only the ones that were bold and friendly would have been tolerated.

Friendliness caused strange things to happen in the wolves. They started to look different. Domestication gave them splotchy coats, floppy ears, wagging tails. In only several generations, these friendly wolves would have become very distinctive from their more aggressive relatives. But the changes did not just affect their looks. Changes also happened to their psychology. These protodogs evolved the ability to read human gestures.

As dog owners, we take for granted that we can point to a ball or toy and our dog will bound off to get it. But the ability of dogs to read human gestures is remarkable. Even our closest relatives-chimpanzees and bonobos-can't read our gestures as readily as dogs can. Dogs are remarkably similar to human infants in the way they pay attention to us. This ability accounts for the extraordinary communication we have with our dogs. Some dogs are so attuned to their owners that they can read a gesture as subtle as a change in eye direction.

With this new ability, these protodogs were worth knowing. People who had dogs during a hunt would likely have had an advantage over those who didn't. Even today, tribes in Nicaragua depend on dogs to detect prey. Moose hunters in alpine regions bring home 56 percent more prey when they are accompanied by dogs. In the Congo, hunters believe they would starve without their dogs.

Dogs would also have served as a warning system, barking at hostile strangers from neighboring tribes. They could have defended their humans from predators.

And finally, though this is not a pleasant thought, when times were tough, dogs could have served as an emergency food supply. Thousands of years before refrigeration and with no crops to store, hunter-gatherers had no food reserves until the domestication of dogs. In tough times, dogs that were the least efficient hunters might have been sacrificed to save the group or the best hunting dogs. Once humans realized the usefulness of keeping dogs as an emergency food supply, it was not a huge jump to realize plants could be used in a similar way.

So, far from a benign human adopting a wolf puppy, it is more likely that a population of wolves adopted us. As the advantages of dog ownership became clear, we were as strongly affected by our relationship with them as they have been by their relationship with us. Dogs may even have been the catalyst for our civilization.

Dr. Brian Hare is the director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center and Vanessa Woods is a research scientist at Duke University. This essay is adapted from their new book, The Genius of Dogs, published by Dutton. To play science-based games to find the genius in your dog, visit www.dognition.com.


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Rescuers Search for Man as Fla. Sinkhole Grows












Rescuers early Saturday morning returned to the site where a sinkhole swallowed a Florida man in his bedroom after the home's foundation collapsed.


Jeff Bush was in his bedroom when a sinkhole opened up and trapped him underneath his home at 11 p.m. Thursday night.


While the sinkhole was initially estimated to be 15 feet deep on Thursday night, the chasm has continued to grow. Officials now estimate it measures 30 feet across and up to 100 feet deep.


MORE: How Sinkholes Can Develop


Rescue operations were halted Friday night after it became too dangerous to approach the home.


Bill Bracken, an engineer with Hillsborough County Urban Search and Rescue team said that the house "should have collapsed by now, so it's amazing that it hasn't."


RELATED: Florida Man Swallowed by Sinkhole: Conditions Too Unstable to Approach








Florida Man Believed Dead After Falling into Sinkhole Watch Video









Florida Sinkhole Swallows House, Man Trapped Inside Watch Video









Sinkhole Victim's Brother: 'I Know in My Heart He's Dead' Watch Video





Using ground penetrating radar, rescuers have found a large amount of water beneath the house, making conditions even more dangerous for them to continue the search for Bush.


"I'm being told it's seriously unstable, so that's the dilemma," said Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrell. "A dilemma that is very painful to them and for everyone."


Hillsborough County lies in what is known as Florida's "Sinkhole Alley." Over 500 sinkholes have been reported in the area since 1954, according to the state's environmental agency.


The Tampa-area home was condemned, leaving Bush's family unable to go back inside to gather their belongings. As a result, the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue set up a relief fund for Bush's family in light of the tragedy.


Officials evacuated the two houses adjacent to Bush's and are considering further evacuations, the Associated Press reported.


Meanwhile, Bush's brother, Jeremy Bush, is still reeling from Thursday night.


Jeremy Bush had to be rescued by a first responder after jumping into the hole in an attempt to rescue his brother when the home's concrete floor collapsed, but said he couldn't find him.


"I just started digging and started digging and started digging, and the cops showed up and pulled me out of the hole and told me the floor's still falling in," he said.


"These are everyday working people, they're good people," said Deputy Douglas Duvall of the Hillsborough County sheriff's office, "And this was so unexpected, and they're still, you know, probably facing the reality that this is happening."



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Smartphone projector breathes life into storybooks



Hal Hodson, technology reporter



Remember your favourite storybook from childhood? Now imagine that the characters that graced its pages didn't only appear in print, but acted out scenes right in front of you, à la magic Harry Potter paintings.


HideOut, a smartphone projector system developed by Karl Willis at Disney Research in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, does exactly that by using invisible-ink markers to guide the projected characters of a storybook through an entire other layer of activities.






The projector also lets the user move a digital, animated character over surfaces in the real world. By passing the camera over another of the hidden patterns - which are visible only in infrared - the character can even seem to interact with physical obstacles, as in the video above.


In a paper describing the system, presented this month at the Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction conference in Barcelona, Spain, Willis laid out how projection will move past games and playing to become an important computer-human interaction technology, freeing digital content from the screens.


Willis writes that future smartphones with embedded projectors will be used to browse digital files projected on any wall or table, to augment theme parks with digital characters, or to make digital board games that jump out of the table. "Enabling projected content to be mapped onto everyday surfaces from mobile devices is an important step towards seamless interaction between the digital and physical worlds."




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Liew Mun Leong retires as chairman of CMA






SINGAPORE : CapitaMalls Asia's will have a new board chairman after the retirement of Mr Liew Mun Leong.

He will be replaced by Mr Ng Kee Choe after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 24 April.

Mr Liew is the former CEO of CapitaLand, the parent company of CapitaMalls Asia.

CapitaLand CEO Lim Ming Yan will replace Mr Liew as Chairman of CapitaMalls Asia's Corporate Disclosure Committee and Investment Committee, and as a member of the Executive Resource and Compensation Committee and Nominating Committee on 24 April 2013.

Mr Liew had been chairman of CapitaMalls Asia since the company was incorporated in October 2004.

- CNA/ch



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Chicago State board meets to decide: Who's in charge?









Chicago State University's board of trustees is meeting this morning to settle the question of who is president at the South Side campus, capping a tumultuous week.

On Monday, the board announced that Wayne Watson, president since 2009, would take a yearlong sabbatical and then was expected to retire. It also said that provost Sandra Westbrooks would be the acting president.

But Watson stayed in his office this week and has maintained that he is still the president. Watson’s attorney said he viewed the sabbatical as equivalent to a vacation, not an end to his presidency. Watson’s contract goes until 2014.

The sabbatical arrangement, which Watson requested, was intended to allow him to exit without drama after the trustees decided they wanted new leadership. He was to be paid his $250,000 salary during the sabbatical, during which time he said he planned to care for his elderly father and conduct research on effective leadership at minority-serving institutions.

The board called the meeting to order shortly after 8 a.m. this morning and then recessed into a closed executive session to discuss what was described on the published agenda as employment matters, legal matters and approval of legal and consultant services. It is then expected to reconvene in an open session.

Before the meeting began, Chicago leaders well known in the African-American community crowded into the library waiting area, including former Sen. Emil Jones and Jonathan Jackson from Rainbow Push Coalition.


Jones, who walked the room with Watson, said: “He should be president, no question about that, because of his interest in the education of the students who go here.”


The mood among the crowd was pleasant despite the differences in opinion on how the university should be lead.

"We're on the good side," said Victor P. Henderson, Watson's attorney.

Watson said: "I'm standing for the right thing."

Board Chairman Gary Rozier told the Tribune earlier this week that trustees had decided it was “time to look for new leadership.” They were disappointed with the decline in enrollment and the faculty’s no-confidence vote on Watson.





Henderson has defended Watson’s tenure.

“I have not seen one iota of information which would justify changing the president’s status at the university,” Henderson said earlier this week.


As the board met in private, members of the audience milled around the room, some complaining out loud about the credentials of the board members and saying that they lacked qualifications to select a leader for the institution. Some whispered about rumors and gossip that has spread across the campus and distracted the faculty, staff and students.

Martin L. King, chairman of the Rainbow Push Coalition board, said he and Rev. Jesse Jackson tried to mediate an agreement between Watson and the board but failed.

"That agreement would have ended the need to have this meeting," he said.

Chicago State has long been an source of pride in the middle-class African-American community it sits in. The student body is made up mainly of local black students, who otherwise might not have a chance to earn a college degree.

Friday's meeting drew residents who had graduated from the institution and many that work there.

"Chicago State University is an anchor for Chatham, Auburn Gresham and the Southland," King said. "It's an economic anchor, the home of historic documents. This university is a place where we all come together."

King said he believes it is in the best interest of the students and community that Watson be retained and the board work with him.

"The president has been very instrumental in making sure the university moved forward," King said. "Our (PUSH) ultimate goal is fairness."

On campus, the drama between Watson and the board has seeped into the classroom, said adjunct professor of political science Gideon Charles.

"We're demoralized. We don't know who is the President and who to report to," he said.

Charles said he believes it's time for Watson to be replaced.

"The school has declined under his leadership and enrollment is down," he said. "The faculty don't hold him in high regard. When he was brought in in 2009, the students didn't take a liking to him — and they still don't."

History professor Bob Bionaz also said he believes Watson should be replaced.  "He is a failure" he said, citing a decline in student enrollment and other factors.

Earlier this week, Watson sent a letter to trustees alleging that some board members are retaliating against him because he won’t accede to their pressures to hire and reward their friends.

In a four-page letter dated Feb. 26 and obtained by the Tribune, Watson told trustees that the “real motivation” behind the board’s efforts to replace him was his refusal “to capitulate to the incessant requests” from Rozier and Vice Chairman Z. Scott to “either hire, promote or give salary increases to their friends and associates.”

Langdon Neal, the board’s attorney, replied: “We are going to rise above this and deal with the matters that affect the students of the university and the university itself. We are not going to comment on the personal accusations.”

In the letter to trustees, Watson also wrote that there are now no financial improprieties at an institution that was plagued by fiscal mismanagement for years.

jscohen@tribune.com





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Scarred Duckbill Dinosaur Escaped T. Rex Attack


A scar on the face of a duckbill dinosaur received after a close encounter with a Tyrannosaurus rex is the first clear case of a healed dinosaur wound, scientists say.

The finding, detailed in the current issue of the journal Cretaceous Research, also reveals that the healing properties of dinosaur skin were likely very similar to that of modern reptiles.

The lucky dinosaur was an adult Edmontosaurus annectens, a species of duckbill dinosaur that lived in what is today the Hell Creek region of South Dakota about 65 to 67 million years ago. (Explore a prehistoric time line.)

A teardrop-shaped patch of fossilized skin about 5 by 5 inches (12 by 14 centimeters) that was discovered with the creature's bones and is thought to have come from above its right eye, includes an oval-shaped section that is incongruous with the surrounding skin. (Related: "'Dinosaur Mummy' Found; Have Intact Skin, Tissue.")

Bruce Rothschild, a professor of medicine at the University of Kansas and Northeast Ohio Medical University, said the first time he laid eyes on it, it was "quite clear" to him that he was looking at an old wound.

"That was unequivocal," said Rothschild, who is a co-author of the new study.

A Terrible Attacker

The skull of the scarred Edmontosaurus also showed signs of trauma, and from the size and shape of the marks on the bone, Rothschild and fellow co-author Robert DePalma, a paleontologist at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History in Florida, speculate the creature was attacked by a T. rex.

It's likely, though still unproven, that both the skin wound and the skull injury were sustained during the same attack, the scientists say. The wound "was large enough to have been a claw or a tooth," Rothschild said.

Rothschild and DePalma also compared the dinosaur wound to healed wounds on modern reptiles, including iguanas, and found the scar patterns to be nearly identical.

It isn't surprising that the wounds would be similar, said paleontologist David Burnham of the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute, since dinosaurs and lizards are distant cousins.

"That's kind of what we would expect," said Burnham, who was not involved in the study. "It's what makes evolution work—that we can depend on this."

Dog-Eat-Dog

Phil Bell, a paleontologist with the Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative in Canada who also was not involved in the research, called the Edmontosaurus fossil "a really nicely preserved animal with a very obvious scar."

He's not convinced, however, that it was caused by a predator attack. The size of the scar is relatively small, Bell said, and would also be consistent with the skin being pierced in some other accident such as a fall.

"But certainly the marks that you see on the skull, those are [more consistent] with Tyrannosaur-bitten bones," he added.

Prior to the discovery, scientists knew of one other case of a dinosaur wound. But in that instance, it was an unhealed wound that scientists think was inflicted by scavengers after the creature was already dead.

It's very likely that this particular Edmontosaurus wasn't the only dinosaur to sport scars, whether from battle wounds or accidents, Bell added.

"I would imagine just about every dinosaur walking around had similar scars," he said. (Read about "Extreme Dinosaurs" in National Geographic magazine.)

"Tigers and lions have scarred noses, and great white sharks have got dings on their noses and nips taken out of their fins. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and [Edmontosaurus was] unfortunately in the line of fire from some pretty big and nasty predators ... This one was just lucky to get away."

Mysterious Escape

Just how Edmontosaurus survived a T. rex attack is still unclear. "Escape from a T. rex is something that we wouldn't think would happen," Burnham said.

Duckbill dinosaurs, also known as Hadrosaurs, were not without defenses. Edmontosaurus, for example, grew up to 30 feet (9 meters) in length, and could swipe its hefty tail or kick its legs to fell predators.

Furthermore, they were fast. "Hadrosaurs like Edmontosaurus had very powerful [running] muscles, which would have made them difficult to catch once they'd taken flight," Bell said.

Duckbills were also herd animals, so maybe this one escaped with help from neighbors. Or perhaps the T. rex that attacked it was young. "There's something surrounding this case that we don't know yet," Burnham said.

Figuring out the details of the story is part of what makes paleontology exciting, he added. "We construct past lives. We can go back into a day in the life of this animal and talk about an attack and [about] it getting away. That's pretty cool."


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Fla. Man Swallowed by Sinkhole, No Signs of Life












A Florida man has disappeared into a 30-foot-wide, 20-foot-deep sinkhole that collapsed the bedroom portion of his home overnight, according to police.


The hole opened up at around 11 p.m. Thursday night in the Brandon, Fla., neighborhood, authorities said.


"[The family] heard a sound that they described as a car crash emanating from the bedroom in the back of the house," Hillsborough County Fire Chief Ron Rogers said at a news conference today.


The family rushed into the room where Jeff Bush, 36, was sleeping, according to ABC News' Tampa affiliate WFTS-TV.


"All they could see was part of a mattress sticking out of the hole. Essentially, the floor of the room had opened up," Rogers said. "They could hear the nephew in the hole, but they could not see him."


Bush's brother, Jeremy Bush, jumped in and tried to rescue him, but was unsuccessful. A first responder "heroically" jumped in and rescued the brother, Rogers said.


The family was evacuated from the home as rescuers tried to get to the man.










Louisiana Sinkhole Raises Fears of Expansion Watch Video







Listening devices and cameras were sent into the hole.


"They did not detect any signs of life," Rogers said. "There continued to be collapses of the earth below the floor to the point where they had to eventually back out of the house."


Rogers said the main issue right now is that authorities and rescuers do not know how stable the house is.


It was previously reported that the hole was 100-feet wide, but Bill Bracken, president of Bracken engineering, clarified at the news conference that the safety zone around the hole is 100 feet, but the hole itself is between 20 to 30 feet in diameter.


It is contained within the footprint of the house, he said.


"The hole has actually taken up most of the inside of the house," Bracken said. "It started in the bedroom and has been expanding outward and it's taking the house with it as it opens up."


When asked what authorities believe the victim's status is, Rogers said, "Until we can actually determine where the victim is, I can't really answer that. We're going to do everything we can for Mr. Bush, but we have to make sure we don't endanger other personnel in the process."


Rogers said "time is a critical thing" and they are assessing the situation as quickly as possible without jeopardizing anyone else.


"We're not going to leave until we know that this community is safe and we know the extent of this issue here," he said. We're going to make sure that everyone is safe as much as we can. We don't know where the next sinkhole is going to open."


Police evacuated the other residents from the structure, as well as the two surrounding homes. Officials say the home could go at any moment.


"Our hearts go out to the Bush family during this terrible time," he said. "They're dealing with a lot of questions, a lot of unknowns."



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