Sunday, March 31, 2013

A-Rod's Salary is Higher than the Entire Houston Astros Roster Combined!


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MongoDB Gets Better Security, Text Search, Performance ... - InfoQ

MongoDB 2.4 was recently released with new features such as Text Search, hash-based sharding, better geo-spatial capabilities with GeoJSON support and several performance and tooling improvements. We also discussed with 10gen about what?s next on the roadmap.

Some of the key improvements are as follows ?

  • Text Search is introduced as a beta-feature, supporting stemming and tokenization in 15 languages
  • Hash-based sharding, for cases where data spread across any natural sharding key cannot be easily predicted
  • Geo-spatial indexes with GeoJSON support
  • Security Improvements ? new modular authentication system, integration with Kerberos, Role-based Access control
  • Several Performance improvements, significant ones for some specific scenarios such as Count or Aggregation
  • V8 as the default JavaScript engine in the mongo shell (replaces SpiderMonkey); leads to performance and concurrency improvements for JavaScript based actions
  • Additional metrics for monitoring cluster status

10gen also introduced an enterprise version of MongoDB along with the 2.4 release.?

We got in touch with Kelly Stirman, director of product marketing at 10gen, to know more about the new features and what to expect next.

Kelly explains why collection-level locks may not make sense for MongoDB ?

The improvements to lock yielding in 2.2 provide substantial benefits to write throughput by reducing lock contention. There was a good write up on this subject by David Mytton.

MongoDB 2.4 does not include any additional granularity of locks beyond the improvements provided in 2.0 and 2.2. We are considering document-level locks for 2.6. The lock yielding improvements were substantial enough that collection-level locks might not provide a major additional improvement, and so document-level locks may be the next step.

About when to use range-based sharding instead of the the new hash-based sharding -

When using range-based sharding, if your application requests data based on a shard key range, then those queries will be routed to the appropriate shards, which is typically just one shard, or perhaps a few shards. The same query in a system that has used hash-based sharding will route the request to a greater number of shards, perhaps all the shards. Ideally, queries are routed to a single shard or as few shards as possible as this scales better than routing all queries to all shards. So, if you understand your data and queries well, it is possible range-based sharding is the best option.

With MongoDB 2.4, Counts can be up to 20x faster, and the Aggregation Framework is 3 - 5 times faster on average. Kelly explains that the improved count performance relies on some improvements to traversing the B-trees in MongoDB ? low cardinality index-based counts are where you see the biggest improvements. The improvements to the Aggregation Framework are a reflection of many smaller changes in MongoDB internal implementation that add up to big benefits.

On what?s coming next in the enterprise features ?

MongoDB 2.4 makes some major steps forward in the areas of security and monitoring, but we have much more planned for future releases. We think of security along the dimensions of authentication, authorization, and auditing. Future releases of MongoDB will continue to focus in these areas, and we will continue to enhance the tooling we provide with MongoDB. MongoDB Monitoring Service (MMS) has been hugely popular in the MongoDB community with over 15,000 users and growing quickly. We will continue to invest in MMS and to provide both free, cloud-based tools as well as on-prem offerings as part of our Enterprise subscriptions.

You can read more about the new features in MongoDB 2.4 in the release notes?as well as the overview.??


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Saturday, March 30, 2013

'Fairy circles' mysery solved? Tiny creators discovered.

'Fairy circles' dot deserts in southern Africa, but the mystery behind their origin may have been solved.

By Tanya Lewis,?Live Science / March 28, 2013

Oryx antelope tracks cross 'fairy circles' in Namibrand, Namibia.

N. Juergens / Live Science


The "artists" behind bizarre, barren, grassless rings dotting the desert of Southwest Africa have been found lurking right at scientists' feet: termites.

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Known as fairy circles, these patches crop up in regular patterns along a narrow strip of the Namib Desert between mid-Angola and northwestern South Africa, and can persist for decades. The cause of these desert pockmarks has been widely debated, but a species of sand termite, Psammotermes allocerus, could be behind the mysterious dirt rings, suggests a study published today (March 28) in the journal Science.

Scientists have offered many ideas about the circles' origin, ranging from "self-organizing vegetation dynamics" to carnivorous ants. Termites have been proposed before, but there wasn't much evidence to support that theory.

Finding patterns in circles

While studying the strange patterns, biologist Norbert Juergens of the University of Hamburg noticed that wherever he found the dirt patches (the barren centers inside fairy circles), he also found sand termites. [See Photos of the Bizarre Fairy Circles]

Juergens measured the water content of the soil in the circles from 2006 to 2012. More than 2 inches (5 centimeters) of water was stored in the top 39 inches (100 cm) of soil, even during the driest period of the year, Juergens found. The soil humidity below about 16 inches (40 cm) was 5 percent or more over a four-year stretch.

Without grass to?absorb rainwater and then release it back into the air via evaporation, any water available would collect in the porous, sandy soil, Juergens proposed. That water supply could be enough to keep the termites alive and active during the harsh dry season, while letting the grass survive at the circles' rims.

Juergens conducted surveys of the organisms found at fairy circles. The sand termite was the only creature he found consistently at the majority of patches. He also discovered that most patches contained layers of cemented sand, foraged plant material and underground tunnels ? telltale signs of sand termites.

?The scientist found a few other termite species, as well as three ant species, at fairy circles in areas that get rain during the summer or during the winter, but not at all the sites he studied.

Teensy engineers


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Friday, March 29, 2013

Ghana Commercial Bank reports surge in 2012 profits

By Martyn Herman LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) - Whether by design, necessity, self-interest or because of all three, nurturing youngsters has become fashionable for England's elite with no expense spared in the hunt for the new Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard. The length and breadth of the country, scouts from top clubs are hoovering up promising footballers barely old enough to tie their bootlaces in a bid to unearth the 30 million pounds ($45.40 million) treasures of the future. ...


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Get Guaranteed Pixel Perfect Banner Designing Service | Business

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Fortunately, my former classmate referred me to the website of a Banner Creator. He said that the good quality of the banner ads of his online hardware store has helped made his business successful. More and more people order from his online store since he started using these banners. According to him, the website guarantees a pixel perfect design for their Banner Designing Service that makes the ad more attractive to visitors. When I checked out the website, I found samples in their portfolio. These ads really look interesting and I knew that very moment that it was what I needed to boost my business. They were good in combining colors that make the banners attention-grabbing. I decided to try them myself for my own website. I noticed the difference before and after utilizing those ads. I gained new costumers who told me that they became more aware about my site and my products because of my striking banner ads.

Without my former classmate?s suggestion, my website would have remained boring and dull. I am grateful that he shared with me one of the factors that made him a successful entrepreneur, which is the website.

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Imaging methodology reveals nano details not seen before: Understanding nanoparticles at atomic scale in 3-D could improve materials

Mar. 27, 2013 ? A team of scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Northwestern University has produced 3-D images and videos of a tiny platinum nanoparticle at atomic resolution that reveal new details of defects in nanomaterials that have not been seen before.

Prior to this work, scientists only had flat, two-dimensional images with which to view the arrangement of atoms. The new imaging methodology developed at UCLA and Northwestern will enable researchers to learn more about a material and its properties by viewing atoms from different angles and seeing how they are arranged in three dimensions.

The study will be published March 27 by the journal Nature.

The authors describe being able to see how the atoms of a platinum nanoparticle -- only 10 namometers in diameter -- are arranged in three dimensions. They also identify how the atoms are arranged around defects in the platinum nanoparticle.

Similar to how CT scans of the brain and body are done in a hospital, the scientists took images of a platinum nanoparticle from many different directions and then pieced the images together using a new method that improved the quality of the images.

This novel method is a combination of three techniques: scanning transmission electron microscopy, equally sloped tomography (EST) and three-dimensional Fourier filtering. Compared to conventional CT, the combined method produces much higher quality 3-D images and allows the direct visualization of atoms inside the platinum nanoparticle in three dimensions.

"Visualizing the arrangement of atoms in materials has played an important role in the evolution of modern science and technology," said Jianwei (John) Miao, who led the work. He is a professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA and a researcher with the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA.

"Our method allows the 3-D imaging of the local structures in materials at atomic resolution, and it is expected to find application in materials sciences, nanoscience, solid state physics and chemistry," he said.

"It turns out that there are details we can only see when we can look at materials in three dimensions," said co-author Laurence D. Marks, a professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

"We have had suspicions for a long time that there was more going on than we could see from the flat images we had," Marks said. "This work is the first demonstration that this is true at the atomic scale."

Nanotechnology expert Pulickel M. Ajayan, the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor of Engineering at Rice University complimented the research.

"This is the first instance where the three-dimensional structure of dislocations in nanoparticles has been directly revealed at atomic resolution," Ajayan said. "The elegant work demonstrates the power of electron tomography and leads to possibilities of directly correlating the structure of nanoparticles to properties, all in full 3-D view."

Defects can influence many properties of materials, and a technique for visualizing these structures at atomic resolution could lead to new insights beneficial to researchers in a wide range of fields.

"Much of what we know about how materials work, whether it is a catalyst in an automobile exhaust system or the display on a smartphone, has come from electron microscope images of how the atoms are arranged," Marks said. "This new imaging method will open up the atomic world of nanoparticles."

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Northwestern University, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Chien-Chun Chen, Chun Zhu, Edward R. White, Chin-Yi Chiu, M. C. Scott, B. C. Regan, Laurence D. Marks, Yu Huang, Jianwei Miao. Three-dimensional imaging of dislocations in a nanoparticle at atomic resolution. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature12009

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Forty years later: Vietnam troops' exit recalled

Forty years ago, soldiers returning from Vietnam were advised to change into civilian clothes on their flights home so that they wouldn't be accosted by angry protesters at the airport. For a Vietnamese businessman who helped the U.S. government, a rising sense of panic set in as the last combat troops left the country on March 29, 1973 and he began to contemplate what he'd do next. A young North Vietnamese soldier who heard about the withdrawal felt emboldened to continue his push on the battlefields of southern Vietnam.

While the fall of Saigon two years later ? with its indelible images of frantic helicopter evacuations ? is remembered as the final day of the Vietnam War, Friday marks an anniversary that holds greater meaning for many who fought, protested or otherwise lived the war. Since then, they've embarked on careers, raised families and in many cases counseled a younger generation emerging from two other faraway wars.

Many veterans are encouraged by changes they see. The U.S. has a volunteer military these days, not a draft, and the troops coming home aren't derided for their service. People know what PTSD stands for, and they're insisting that the government take care of soldiers suffering from it and other injuries from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Below are the stories of a few of the people who experienced a part of the Vietnam War firsthand.


Former Air Force Sgt. Howard Kern, who lives in central Ohio near Newark, spent a year in Vietnam before returning home in 1968.

He said that for a long time he refused to wear any service ribbons associating him with southeast Asia and he didn't even his tell his wife until a couple of years after they married that he had served in Vietnam. He said she was supportive of his war service and subsequent decision to go back to the Army to serve another 18 years.

Kern said that when he flew back from Vietnam with other service members, they were told to change out of uniform and into civilian clothes while they were still on the airplane to avoid the ire of protesters at the airport.

"What stands out most about everything is that before I went and after I got back, the news media only showed the bad things the military was doing over there and the body counts," said Kern, now 66. "A lot of combat troops would give their c rations to Vietnamese children, but you never saw anything about that ? you never saw all the good that GIs did over there."

Kern, an administrative assistant at the Licking County Veterans' Service Commission, said the public's attitude is a lot better toward veterans coming home for Iraq and Afghanistan ? something the attributes in part to Vietnam veterans.

"We're the ones that greet these soldiers at the airports. We're the ones who help with parades and stand alongside the road when they come back and applaud them and salute them," he said.

He said that while the public "might condemn war today, they don't condemn the warriors."

"I think the way the public is treating these kids today is a great thing," Kern said. "I wish they had treated us that way."

But he still worries about the toll that multiple tours can take on service members.

"When we went over there, you came home when your tour was over and didn't go back unless you volunteered. They are sending GIs back now maybe five or seven times, and that's way too much for a combat veteran," he said.

He remembers feeling glad when the last troops left Vietnam, but was sad to see Saigon fall two years later. "Vietnam was a very beautiful country, and I felt sorry for the people there," he said.


Tony Lam was 36 on the day the last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam. He was a young husband and father, but most importantly, he was a businessman and U.S. contractor furnishing dehydrated rice to South Vietnamese troops. He also ran a fish meal plant and a refrigerated shipping business that exported shrimp.

As Lam, now 76, watched American forces dwindle and then disappear, he felt a rising panic. His close association with the Americans was well-known and he needed to get out ? and get his family out ? or risk being tagged as a spy and thrown into a Communist prison. He watched as South Vietnamese commanders fled, leaving whole battalions without a leader.

"We had no chance of surviving under the Communist invasion there. We were very much worried about the safety of our family, the safety of other people," he said this week from his adopted home in Westminster, Calif.

But Lam wouldn't leave for nearly two more years after the last U.S. combat troops, driven to stay by his love of his country and his belief that Vietnam and its economy would recover.

When Lam did leave, on April 21, 1975, it was aboard a packed C-130 that departed just as Saigon was about to fall. He had already worked for 24 hours at the airport to get others out after seeing his wife and two young children off to safety in the Philippines.

"My associate told me, 'You'd better go. It's critical. You don't want to end up as a Communist prisoner.' He pushed me on the flight out. I got tears in my eyes once the flight took off and I looked down from the plane for the last time," Lam recalled. "No one talked to each other about how critical it was, but we all knew it."

Now, Lam lives in Southern California's Little Saigon, the largest concentration of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam.

In 1992, Lam made history by becoming the first Vietnamese-American to elected to public office in the U.S. and he went on to serve on the Westminster City Council for 10 years.

Looking back over four decades, Lam says he doesn't regret being forced out of his country and forging a new, American, life.

"I went from being an industrialist to pumping gas at a service station," said Lam, who now works as a consultant and owns a Lee's Sandwich franchise, a well-known Vietnamese chain.

"But thank God I am safe and sound and settled here with my six children and 15 grandchildren," he said. "I'm a happy man."


Wayne Reynolds' nightmares got worse this week with the approach of the anniversary of the U.S. troop withdrawal.

Reynolds, 66, spent a year working as an Army medic on an evacuation helicopter in 1968 and 1969. On days when the fighting was worst, his chopper would make four or five landings in combat zones to rush wounded troops to emergency hospitals.

The terror of those missions comes back to him at night, along with images of the blood that was everywhere. The dreams are worst when he spends the most time thinking about Vietnam, like around anniversaries.

"I saw a lot of people die," said Reynolds.

Today, Reynolds lives in Athens, Ala., after a career that included stints as a public school superintendent and, most recently, a registered nurse. He is serving his 13th year as the Alabama president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and he also has served on the group's national board as treasurer.

Like many who came home from the war, Reynolds is haunted by the fact he survived Vietnam when thousands more didn't. Encountering war protesters after returning home made the readjustment to civilian life more difficult.

"I was literally spat on in Chicago in the airport," he said. "No one spoke out in my favor."

Reynolds said the lingering survivor's guilt and the rude reception back home are the main reasons he spends much of his time now working with veteran's groups to help others obtain medical benefits. He also acts as an advocate on veterans' issues, a role that landed him a spot on the program at a 40th anniversary ceremony planned for Friday in Huntsville, Ala.

It took a long time for Reynolds to acknowledge his past, though. For years after the war, Reynolds said, he didn't include his Vietnam service on his resume and rarely discussed it with anyone.

"A lot of that I blocked out of my memory. I almost never talk about my Vietnam experience other than to say, 'I was there,' even to my family," he said.


A former North Vietnamese soldier, Ho Van Minh heard about the American combat troop withdrawal during a weekly meeting with his commanders in the battlefields of southern Vietnam.

The news gave the northern forces fresh hope of victory, but the worst of the war was still to come for Minh: The 77-year-old lost his right leg to a land mine while advancing on Saigon, just a month before that city fell.

"The news of the withdrawal gave us more strength to fight," Minh said Thursday, after touring a museum in the capital, Hanoi, devoted to the Vietnamese victory and home to captured American tanks and destroyed aircraft.

"The U.S. left behind a weak South Vietnam army. Our spirits was so high and we all believed that Saigon would be liberated soon," he said.

Minh, who was on a two-week tour of northern Vietnam with other veterans, said he bears no ill will to the American soldiers even though much of the country was destroyed and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese died.

If he met an American veteran now he says, "I would not feel angry; instead I would extend my sympathy to them because they were sent to fight in Vietnam against their will."

But on his actions, he has no regrets. "If someone comes to destroy your house, you have to stand up to fight."


Two weeks before the last U.S. troops left Vietnam, Marine Corps Capt. James H. Warner was freed from North Vietnamese confinement after nearly 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war. He said those years of forced labor and interrogation reinforced his conviction that the United States was right to confront the spread of communism.

The past 40 years have proven that free enterprise is the key to prosperity, Warner said in an interview Thursday at a coffee shop near his home in Rohrersville, Md., about 60 miles from Washington. He said American ideals ultimately prevailed, even if our methods weren't as effective as they could have been.

"China has ditched socialism and gone in favor of improving their economy, and the same with Vietnam. The Berlin Wall is gone. So essentially, we won," he said. "We could have won faster if we had been a little more aggressive about pushing our ideas instead of just fighting."

Warner, 72, was the avionics officer in a Marine Corps attack squadron when his fighter plane was shot down north of the Demilitarized Zone in October 1967.

He said the communist-made goods he was issued as a prisoner, including razor blades and East German-made shovels, were inferior products that bolstered his resolve.

"It was worth it," he said.

A native of Ypsilanti, Mich., Warner went on to a career in law in government service. He is a member of the Republican Central Committee of Washington County, Md.


Denis Gray witnessed the Vietnam War twice ? as an Army captain stationed in Saigon from 1970 to 1971 for a U.S. military intelligence unit, and again as a reporter at the start of a 40-year career with the AP.

"Saigon in 1970-71 was full of American soldiers. It had a certain kind of vibe. There were the usual clubs, and the bars were going wild," Gray recalled. "Some parts of the city were very, very Americanized."

Gray's unit was helping to prepare for the troop pullout by turning over supplies and projects to the South Vietnamese during a period that Washington viewed as the final phase of the war. But morale among soldiers was low, reinforced by a feeling that the U.S. was leaving without finishing its job.

"Personally, I came to Vietnam and the military wanting to believe that I was in a ? maybe not a just war but a ? war that might have to be fought," Gray said. "Toward the end of it, myself and most of my fellow officers, and the men we were commanding didn't quite believe that ... so that made the situation really complex."

After his one-year service in Saigon ended in 1971, Gray returned home to Connecticut and got a job with the AP in Albany, N.Y. But he was soon posted to Indochina, and returned to Saigon in August 1973 ? four months after the U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam ? to discover a different city.

"The aggressiveness that militaries bring to any place they go ? that was all gone," he said. A small American presence remained, mostly diplomats, advisers and aid workers but the bulk of troops had left. The war between U.S.-allied South Vietnam and communist North Vietnam was continuing, and it was still two years before the fall of Saigon to the communist forces.

"There was certainly no panic or chaos ? that came much later in '74, '75. But certainly it was a city with a lot of anxiety in it."

The Vietnam War was the first of many wars Gray witnessed. As AP's Bangkok bureau chief for more than 30 years, Gray has covered wars in Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Rwanda, Kosovo, and "many, many insurgencies along the way."

"I don't love war, I hate it," Gray said. "(But) when there have been other conflicts, I've been asked to go. So, it was definitely the shaping event of my professional life."


Harry Prestanski, 65, of West Chester, Ohio, served 16 months as a Marine in Vietnam and remembers having to celebrate his 21st birthday there. He is now retired from a career in public relations and spends a lot of time as an advocate for veterans, speaking to various organizations and trying to help veterans who are looking for jobs.

"The one thing I would tell those coming back today is to seek out other veterans and share their experiences," he said. "There are so many who will work with veterans and try to help them ? so many opportunities that weren't there when we came back."

He says that even though the recent wars are different in some ways from Vietnam, those serving in any war go through some of the same experiences.

"One of the most difficult things I ever had to do was to sit down with the mother of a friend of mine who didn't come back and try to console her while outside her office there were people protesting the Vietnam War," Prestanski said.

He said the public's response to veterans is not what it was 40 years ago and credits Vietnam veterans for helping with that.

"When we served, we were viewed as part of the problem," he said. "One thing about Vietnam veterans is that ? almost to the man ? we want to make sure that never happens to those serving today. We welcome them back and go out of our way to airports to wish them well when they leave."

He said some of the positive things that came out of his war service were the leadership skills and confidence he gained that helped him when he came back.

"I felt like I could take on the world," he said.


Flaccus reported from Los Angeles and Cornwell reported from Cincinnati. Also contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Chris Brummitt in Hanoi, David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Md., and Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Ala.


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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Quitting marshmallow test can be a rational decision

Mar. 26, 2013 ? A psychological experiment known as "the marshmallow test" has captured the public's imagination as a marker of self control and even as a predictor of future success. This test shows how well children can delay gratification, a trait that has been shown to be as important to scholastic performance as traditional IQ.

New research from University of Pennsylvania psychologists suggests, however, that changing one's mind about delaying gratification can be a rational decision in situations when the timing of the payoff is uncertain.

The research was conducted by assistant professor Joseph Kable and postdoctoral researcher Joseph McGuire, both of the Department of Psychology in Penn's School of Arts and Sciences.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Review.

In the classic marshmallow test, researchers give children a choice between one marshmallow and two. After the children enthusiastically choose two, the experimenter says that they need to leave for "a few minutes" or "a little while." The children are also told that, if they can hold off eating the one marshmallow until the researcher returns, they can have the two marshmallows they prefer. With the children left alone in the room, hidden cameras track how long they resist temptation. Most try to wait but end up caving within a few minutes.

"The kids' responses seem illogical -- if you decided to wait in the first place, why wouldn't you wait the whole way through?" Kable said.

This behavior was an intriguing puzzle for Kable; he studies how people make value-based decisions, especially when they require comparing the value of something in the present with something else in the future. But, in conducting his own variants of the marshmallow test, he found that a key fact had been glossed over in both popular and academic discussions: the children don't know how long they will have to wait.

"I didn't even know that there was uncertainty in the marshmallow test until we started trying to do that type of experiment ourselves on adults and weren't getting any interesting behavior," Kable said. "That the kids don't know how long it's going to be until the researcher returns changes the entire decision problem!"

This confusion may stem from the explanations provided for children's decisions in the marshmallow test. Some of the researchers who have employed the marshmallow test and its variants have hypothesized that participants' decision to eat the marshmallow could be attributed to a strong impulse overriding the original decision to wait, or that the ability to wait was drawing on a reserve of self control that is depleted over time. Since these hypotheses make the same predictions even when there is no uncertainty, the uncertainty was often downplayed.

Kable and McGuire's analysis of data from earlier marshmallow-test studies showed problems for these hypotheses, however. If reversing the decision to wait was a function of the wearing down of self control, the time at which children eat the first marshmallow should be clustered in the middle or towards the end of the waiting period. Instead, children who gave up waiting tended to do so within the first few minutes.

After this analysis, Kable and McGuire did their own survey-based research to see how people estimate the lengths of waiting times in different situations.

The researchers asked participants to imagine themselves in a variety of scenarios, such as watching a movie, practicing the piano or trying to lose weight. Participants were told the amount of time they had been at the activity and were asked to respond how long they thought it would be until they reached their goal or the end.

The results showed a marked difference between the scenario with a relatively well-defined length and those that were more ambiguous.

"Our intuition is that when we are waiting for something, the longer we wait the closer and closer we get to that thing, which is what we see when we ask people about familiar things, like how long a movie will last," Kable says. "But what we've found is that, if you don't know anything about when the outcome will occur, the longer you wait the more you think you're getting farther and farther away from that outcome."

While the marshmallow test remains a good predictor of who is better or worse at delaying gratification, Kable's research suggests the mechanism behind that ability needs to be reinterpreted. It may also suggest some tools and techniques people can use to improve self control, or at least become aware of situations where delaying gratification will be particularly challenging.

"This is exciting to us because it suggests a way to get people to persist to the end," Kable said. "Your previous experience and your expectations can change your behavior, so you need to give them experiences that provide them with the right kinds of expectations."

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Pennsylvania.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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T-Mobile details its no-contract Simple Choice plans: starting at $50/month for unlimited talk, text and 500MB unthrottled data

TMobile details its UnCarrier plans TKTK

T-Mobile already let its new "UnCarrier" plans loose on its website without much fanfare this past weekend, but it's now finally talking a bit more about them at its big launch event in NYC. Dubbed Simple Choice, the new plans all of course do away with the traditional two-year contracts, and they all start with both unlimited talk and text. The differences come with the data options: the basic $50 a month plan will get you 500MB of high-speed data with rates throttled down to 2G speeds after you hit that limit. Heavier data users can opt for 2GB of unthrottled data for an extra $10 per month, while fully unlimited 4G data will set you back an extra $20 a month (or $70 total). A second line will run another $30 on top of that, with each additional line costing $10 apiece. Not surprisingly, the carrier is also making a big marketing push to promote its new approach. You see its first commercial after the break, and find a full breakdown of the plans at the source link below.

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Source: T-Mobile


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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Research provides clues to alcohol addiction vulnerability

Mar. 25, 2013 ? A Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center team studying alcohol addiction has new research that might shed light on why some drinkers are more susceptible to addiction than others.

Jeff Weiner, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest Baptist, and colleagues used an animal model to look at the early stages of the addiction process and focused on how individual animals responded to alcohol. Their findings may lead not only to a better understanding of addiction, but to the development of better drugs to treat the disease as well, Weiner said.

"We know that some people are much more vulnerable to alcoholism than others, just like some people have a vulnerability to cancer or heart disease," Weiner said. "We don't have a good understanding of what causes this vulnerability, and that's a big question. But if we can figure it out, we may be able to better identify people at risk, as well as gain important clues to help develop better drugs to treat the disease."

The findings are published in the March 13 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. Weiner, who directs the Translational Studies on Early-Life Stress and Vulnerability to Alcohol Addiction project at Wake Forest Baptist, said the study protocol was developed by the first author of the paper, Karina Abrahao, a graduate student visiting from the collaborative lab of Sougza-Formigoni, Ph.D, of the Department of Psychobiology at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Weiner said the study model focused on how individual animals responded to alcohol. Typically, when a drug like alcohol is given to a mouse every day, the way the animals respond increases -- they become more stimulated and run around more. "In high doses, alcohol is a depressant, but in low doses, it can have a mellowing effect that results in greater activity," he said. "Those low dose effects tend to increase over time and this increase in activity in response to repeated alcohol exposure is called locomotor sensitization."

Prior studies with other drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamine, have suggested that animals that show the greatest increases in locomotor sensitization are also the animals most likely to seek out or consume these drugs. However, the relationship between locomotor sensitization and vulnerability to high levels of alcohol drinking is not as well established, Weiner said.

Usually when researchers are studying a drug, they give it to one test group while the other group gets a control solution, and then they look for behavioral differences between the two, Weiner said. But in this study, the researchers focused on individual differences in how each animal responded to the alcohol. A control group received a saline injection while another was injected with the same amount of alcohol every day for three weeks. Weiner said they used mice bred to be genetically variable like humans to make the research more relevant.

"We found large variations in the development of locomotor sensitization to alcohol in these mice, with some showing robust sensitization and others showing no more of a change in locomotor activity than control mice given daily saline injections," Weiner said. "Surprisingly, when all of the alcohol-exposed mice were given an opportunity to voluntarily drink alcohol, those that had developed sensitization drank more than those that did not. In fact, the alcohol-treated mice that failed to develop sensitization drank no more alcohol than the saline-treated control group."

The authors also conducted a series of neurobiological studies and discovered that mice that showed robust locomotor sensitization had deficits in a form of brain neuroplasticity -- how experiences reorganize neural pathways in the brain -- that has been linked with cocaine addiction in other animal models.

"We found that this loss of the ability of brain cells to change the way that they communicate with each other only occurred in the animals that showed the behavioral response to alcohol," he said. "What this suggests for the first time in the alcohol addiction field is that this particular deficit may represent an important brain correlate of vulnerability to alcoholism. It's a testable hypothesis. That's why I think it's an important finding."

Funding support for the research came from the National Institutes of Health (AA 21099, AA 17531, AA 10422 and AA 14445), Coordenadoria de Aperfeic?oamento de Pessoal de N?vel Superior (CAPES; Grant 0321-10-9), Fundac?a?o de Amparo a` Pesquisa do Estado de Sa?o Paulo (FAPESP; Grant 2008/01819-5), and Associac?a?o Fundo de Incentivo a`Pesquisa (AFIP).

The Translational Studies on Early-Life Stress and Vulnerability to Alcohol Addiction project is an NIH-funded collaborative grant which supports rodent, non-human primate and human studies investigating neurobiological mechanisms associated with vulnerability and resilience to alcohol addiction.

Co-authors include: Olusegun Ariwodola, Tracy Butler, Andrew Rau, Mary Jane Skelly, Eugenia Carter, Nancy Alexander and Brian McCool, all of Wake Forest Baptist, and Maria Lucia Formigoni of the Universidade de Sao Paulo.

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. K. P. Abrahao, O. J. Ariwodola, T. R. Butler, A. R. Rau, M. J. Skelly, E. Carter, N. P. Alexander, B. A. McCool, M. L. O. Souza-Formigoni, J. L. Weiner. Locomotor Sensitization to Ethanol Impairs NMDA Receptor-Dependent Synaptic Plasticity in the Nucleus Accumbens and Increases Ethanol Self-Administration. Journal of Neuroscience, 2013; 33 (11): 4834 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5839-11.2013

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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What you missed from ?The Ultimate Fighter?

It was a fight-packed episode of "The Ultimate Fighter" as Tuesday night's episode had two fights and visits from two different champs.

Ronda Rousey stops by -- Kelvin won his first match, so he was rewarded with a visit with UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. It wasn't just for show, either, as Rousey showed Team Sonnen several judo techniques. She also pumped them up with some of her favorite "Momisms," including the choice line, "No one has the right to beat you."

Collin Hart (Team Jones) vs. Kelvin Gastellum (Team Sonnen)

Gastellum said in his pre-fight interviews that no one respects his boxing. Uh, they will now. Gastellum struck Hart quickly with a left hook that sent him down to the ground. Hart hit his head on the canvas, rolled over, and took a few more punches before the fight was stopped. It was a vicious, vicious knockout.

Mike Tyson! Oh, hey, no big deal. Mike Tyson showed up at the training center. He stopped in the locker rooms to say hello to the fighters.

Dylan Andrews (Team Jones) vs. Luke Barnatt (Team Sonnen)

A fight for the Queen as Australian Andrews takes on Brit Barnatt. Andrews got the takedown early in the first round, and Barnatt had no answer on the ground for much of the round. Andrews tried for a few chokes, but was unsuccessful.

Barnatt did a much better job in the second, creating offense from the bottom. This led to a third round, where Andrews took over. He knocked a clearly tired Barnatt around until he finally knocked him out in the third round.

Everyone was impressed with how Andrews fought through the third round, including the man signing the checks.

"I'm blown away and impressed with Dylan. That's how it's done here." ? Dana White

The next two quarterfinals are next week, and they'll have a tough act to follow.


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Gates Foundation challenge shoots for a better condom

By Maggie Fox, Senior Writer, NBC News

They?re cheap, easy to make and they not only prevent pregnancy but protect against a range of infections, including the AIDS virus. But men often don?t like to use condoms and women are afraid to ask them to.

So why hasn?t someone figured out how to make one that more?people would want to use? The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is putting up $100,000 to try to entice someone to try.

?There are few places on earth where condoms are not recognized or not available,? the foundation, headed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates, says in a statement.

?The primary drawback from the male perspective is that condoms decrease pleasure as compared to no condom, creating a trade-off that many men find unacceptable, particularly given that the decisions about use must be made just prior to intercourse,? it adds.

?Is it possible to develop a product without this stigma, or better, one that is felt to enhance pleasure?? If so, would such a product lead to substantial benefits for global health, both in terms of reducing the incidence of unplanned pregnancies and in prevention of infection with HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)??

The Foundation estimates that 15 billion condoms are made each year, with 750 million users. But the design hasn?t changed much from the day when men used lamb intestines to make them. Now, latex is the preferred material.

?We are looking for a?Next Generation Condom?that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use. Additional concepts that might increase uptake include attributes that increase ease-of-use for male and female condoms, for example better packaging or designs that are easier to properly apply,? the Foundation says in an invitation on its Grand Challenges website.

?In addition, attributes that address and overcome cultural barriers are also desired.? Proposals must (i) have a testable hypothesis, (ii) include an associated plan for how the idea would be tested or validated, and (iii) yield interpretable and unambiguous data in Phase I, in order to be considered for Phase II funding.?

That second phase of funding could go up to a million dollars. The Foundation says it will consider applciations for new materials, new shapes or designs, or science-based ways to make condoms more enticing to use.

The Foundation?s Grand Challenges project was set up to kick-start very early-stage endeavors. It?s paid out $450 million to efforts on childhood vaccines, controlling insects that spread disease and other public health challenges.




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Dell board will deal with Icahn, Blackstone

Michael Dell may have to hike the price he's willing to pay if he wants to take the computer company he founded private, thanks to competition from two new acquisition offers.

A special committee of independent Dell Inc. directors said Monday that it will negotiate with buyout specialist Blackstone Group and activist investor Carl Icahn over bids that rival an offer of more than $24 billion from CEO and Chairman Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners.

The committee has determined that the bids could be superior to the proposal from Dell and Silver Lake, which amounts to $13.65 per share.

Blackstone proposed buying the Round Rock, Texas, company in a deal that would equate to more than $14.25 per share. Icahn wants to buy up to 58 percent of Dell's shares for $15 each.

Icahn Enterprises said in a statement its offer would allow shareholders "that believe, like us, that the future for Dell is bright," to continue with the company.

The special committee said Michael Dell is willing to work with third parties on alternate acquisition proposals.

"We intend to work diligently with all three potential acquirers to ensure the best possible outcome for Dell shareholders, whichever transaction that may be," said Alex Mandl, special committee chairman, in a statement.

That's good news for shareholders hoping for a higher price, and Dell Inc. shares climbed 3.3 percent, or 46 cents, to $14.60 in morning trading.

Dell and other PC makers are struggling as technology spending shifts to smartphones and tablet computers. Dell and HP, the top PC maker, are trying to adapt by making more tablets and diversifying into more profitable areas of technology, such as business software, data analytics and storage.

Michael Dell believes he will be in a better position to overhaul the company if he no longer has to worry about Wall Street's focus on profit fluctuations from one quarter to the next.

The special committee, which is made of four independent directors, spent more than five months evaluating options for Dell before deciding on the offer from Dell and Silver Lake. It considered changes to the company's business plan, a change in dividend policy and sales of all or parts of the business.

Silver Lake raised its bid six times by about $4 billion over the course of negotiations, and the committee said in a statement that it still recommends that bid while it evaluates the other offers.

Icahn, who has a $1 billion stock position in Dell, and other investors have criticized that bid as too low. Southeastern Asset Management, Dell's second-largest shareholder after Michael Dell, has asserted the company is worth closer to $24 per share.

The offer from Michael Dell and Silver Lake was announced in early February. Dell's board then set a 45-day period to allow for offers that might top that bid. That period expired Friday.

Many investors expected that a higher bid was in the works for the world's third-largest PC maker. Several buyout scenarios tying Blackstone to Dell were leaked to the media last week.

Shares of Dell had climbed nearly 40 percent so far in 2013, as of Friday's market close. That includes a rise of nearly 7 percent since the shares closed at $13.27 on Feb. 4, the day before the Dell-Silver Lake bid was announced.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Obesity may be linked to microorganisms living in the gut

Mar. 26, 2013 ? How much a person eats may be only one of many factors that determines weight gain. A recent Cedars-Sinai study suggests that a breath test profile of microorganisms inhabiting the gut may be able to tell doctors how susceptible a person is to developing obesity.

The study, published online Thursday by The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, shows that people whose breath has high concentrations of both hydrogen and methane gasses are more likely to have a higher body mass index and higher percentage of body fat.

"This is the first large-scale human study to show an association between gas production and body weight -- and this could prove to be another important factor in understanding one of the many causes of obesity," said lead author Ruchi Mathur, MD, director of the Diabetes Outpatient Treatment and Education Center in the Division of Endocrinology at Cedars-Sinai.

The study, which will also appear in JCEM's April 2013 issue, analyzed the breath content of 792 people. Based on the breath tests, four patterns emerged. The subjects either had normal breath content, higher concentrations of methane, higher levels of hydrogen, or higher levels of both gases. Those who tested positive for high concentrations of both gases had significantly higher body mass indexes and higher percentages of body fat.

The presence of methane is associated with a microorganism called Methanobrevibacter smithii. This organism is responsible for the majority of methane production in the human host.

"Usually, the microorganisms living in the digestive tract benefit us by helping convert food into energy. However, when this particular organism -- M. smithii -- becomes overabundant, it may alter this balance in a way that causes someone to be more likely to gain weight," Mathur said.

These organisms scavenge hydrogen from other microbes and use it to produce methane -- which is eventually exhaled by the host. Researchers theorize this interaction helps neighboring hydrogen-producing bacteria thrive and extract nutrients from food more efficiently. Over time, this may contribute to weight gain.

"Essentially, it could allow a person to harvest more calories from their food," Mathur said.

In an ongoing study funded by the American Diabetes Association, Mathur is working to confirm the link between M. smithii, obesity and pre-diabetic conditions by determining how efficiently people digest food before and after eliminating the microorganism with a targeted dose of antibiotic. Participants who have evidence of methane on their breath are given a standard diet over three days, undergo an oral glucose challenge, and swallow a "smart pill" to track how fast the food moves through their bodies. In addition, their stool is collected and sent for calorie analysis allowing researchers to determine how many calories are being harvested during digestion. Participants then repeat the same tests after taking the antibiotic regimen to see if elimination of the organism results in measureable changes.

"This should let us know just how energy balance is affected by M. smithii," Mathur said, "We're only beginning to understand the incredibly complex communities that live inside of us. If we can understand how they affect our metabolism, we may be able to work with these microscopic communities to positively impact our health."

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Ruchi Mathur et al. Methane and Hydrogen Positivity on Breath Test is Associated with Greater Body Mass Index and Body Fat. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2013; (in press)

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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Report: Spotify Will Add a Streaming Video Service

SAI reports that Spotify plans to expand beyond its on-demand streaming music service into the wild world of streaming video. According to unnamed sources, Spotify wants to take on VOD services with exclusive content, which would put the company in direct competition with companies like Netflix, Amazon, and even, if you're willing to stretch you imagination, with HBO. More »


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Monday, March 25, 2013

BracketRacket: Craft's shot, Sadler and Dunk City

Welcome back to BracketRacket, the one-stop shop for all your NCAA tournament needs.

Today, we see what happens when Ohio State hits a buzzer beater, ride shotgun with NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler and see why the cool kids are referring to Fort Myers, Fla., as "Dunk City."

But first, let's acquaint ourselves with the Sweet 16, shall we?



On a day that boasted several close-but-not-quite upset threats, Florida Gulf Coast (aka. Dunk City or Florida Dunk Coast) bucked things with a 10-point win over San Diego State to become the first No. 15 seed ever in the Sweet 16. Indiana and Ohio State beat even lower seeded teams Sunday ? and had much more stressful games.

"These guys are rock stars," TBS announcer Len Elmore said as a few Eagles players walked up into the stands at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to nab some seats during the first half of the Creighton-Duke game.

Of the 8.15 million brackets filled out on, just under 1 percent ? about 77,000 ? had Florida Gulf Coast making the Sweet 16.

Fewer than 3,000 have them winning the title.

They'll join No. 12 seed Oregon and 13th-seeded La Salle as the lowest seeded teams in the Sweet 16. Also in: top seeds Louisville, Kansas and Indiana, along with Duke, Ohio State, Michigan State, Wichita State, Arizona, Marquette, Miami, Syracuse, Florida and Michigan.



Fans, meet Aaron Craft, the bracket-buster buster.

Minutes after Craft hit a game-winning 3-pointer over a 6-foot-7 defender to send Ohio State to the Sweet 16, the AP's Tom Withers saw the guard walking up the short ramp to a news conference area. Before he went in, Craft paused and said something just a little bit too rude for print here that showed even he was surprised by the ending.

Much of America agreed, buzzing about Craft enough to quickly make him a worldwide trending topic on Twitter, even though he told Withers he doesn't have an account.

That'll be disappointing for the 1,200 fans who clicked to follow a phony Craft handle in the three hours following the game.

Ohio State is the only top-5 seed left in the wacky West Region, where Gonzaga, New Mexico, Kansas State and Wisconsin have all lost in the first weekend.

As for the shot itself, Craft said the play was originally meant for Deshaun Thomas but Craft audibled because Iowa State changed defenders.

"Just made a read. If they wouldn't have switched, probably would have been a different play," Craft said. "The shot I took right before that felt pretty good. I thought I could make the next one, and was able to do so."

If you missed the play, here's the highlight:

Note Craft waving off Thomas to seize the moment himself.



Each joyful moment in the NCAA tournament brings anguish to someone on the other side.

USA Today Sports is pulling together a photo gallery of those reactions, aptly titled "March Sadness." See it here:



What's the best way to follow up a $29,000 racing payday? For NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler, it's apparently a Sunday partially spent watching basketball and getting a haircut.

Sadler ? a 37-year-old racer who earned a basketball scholarship at James Madison but got hurt before he could play ? placed seventh on Saturday at the Royal Purple 300, a Nationwide Series race in Fontana, Calif.

And even with busy preparations, Sadler said he still tried to catch some of the tournament.

"I definitely tried to watch as many games as I could this weekend, even being at the race track. In between practices and events at the track, I stayed in our team's hauler to catch the latest games," Sadler said.

Sadler, who's in a bracket challenge on ESPN with his fans, said his predictions are still in OK shape since he picked Louisville, Florida, New Mexico and Miami to make the Final Four. Only New Mexico is gone.

He thinks Louisville has the best shot to win it all because of good guards, strong perimeter defense and a tough schedule.

But he says the unexpected wins are what make the tournament special.

"My favorite part is that it is an even playing field," Sadler said. "It gives the underdogs, the Florida Gulf Coasts of the world, the chance to get their time in the spotlight."



Gotta be handy with the song covers if you want your parody video to go viral.

Making the YouTube rounds is a Florida Gulf Coast fan's reimagining of Tyga's "Rack City." The 15-seed's hoops version? Dunk City. See it here:

The new song includes this poetic verse: "Smashing those brackets should be illegal."

A little obvious, but definitely more effort than a Harlem Shake.

And for the inevitable Sweet 16 remix after the win over San Diego State, there's plenty of highlight B-roll to choose from, including Chase Fieler's drive and dunk over Stephens (, one of two alley-oops to Eric McKnight within a minute ( and Bernard Thompson's celebration throw-down in the game's final two minutes (



Vanderbilt's women's basketball team doesn't have a big celebrity following, but being in Nashville there is the occasional sighting.

Coach Melanie Balcomb tells the AP's Pat Eaton-Robb that country star Vince Gill created quite a distraction at one game when he took a seat behind the bench.

Yes, that Vince Gill, who got a star last year on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has sold millions of albums and won 18 Country Music Association awards, including a five-year run as male vocalist of the year in the early '90s.

"We're all whispering going, 'That's Vince Gill. No it's not. It's Vince Gill, it's Vince Gill," Balcomb said.

Balcomb said there was one person on the bench, a graduate assistant from New York, who didn't understand all the fuss. She eventually screamed out: "Who is Vince Gill?"

"And that's when everything got really quiet," said Balcomb. "And, I was like, 'Oh my God, he heard it. It was the worst thing."

Vanderbilt can expect to get a few more followers if the Commodores can pull off an upset Monday in the second round against top seed Connecticut.



A lot of talk flowed over the weekend about the Big Ten having four schools in the Sweet 16, but a pair of Big Ten teams were defeated by Florida schools on Sunday night in Austin. With Florida and Miami advancing along with Florida Gulf Coast, it's the first time three schools from the Sunshine State have reached the regional semifinals.

Florida and Florida Gulf Coast play each other in the next round.



"Chico, please." ? TV personality and former NBA star Charles Barkley, to cap a CBS postgame argument about foul calls in Ohio State-Iowa State with fellow analyst Kenny Smith. A few minutes later, the phrase became a trending topic worldwide on Twitter.


Oskar Garcia is a news editor for The Associated Press in Honolulu. Write to him at ogarcia(at) and follow him on Twitter at



Midwest Region

Duke 66, Creighton 50

West Region

Ohio State 78, Iowa State 75

La Salle 76, Mississippi 74

South Region

Kansas 70, North Carolina 58

Florida 78, Minnesota 64

Florida Gulf Coast 81, San Diego State 71

East Region

Indiana 58, Temple 52

Miami 63, Illinois 59

Associated Press


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Pilot whales beach in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (AP) ? South African officials say 19 pilot whales have beached in Cape Town and five of them have died.

Police and other rescue workers are hosing down the surviving whales at Noordhoek Beach to try to keep them alive.

The South African Press Association quoted Craig Lambinon, a spokesman for the National Sea Rescue Institute, as saying authorities are considering whether to try and refloat the whales. They washed up on the beach on Sunday morning.

Lambinon has appealed to the public to stay away from the beach because enough workers are there, trying to help the whales.

In 2009, authorities in the Cape Town area removed the carcasses of 55 whales that beached themselves and had to be shot despite the frantic rescue efforts of hundreds of volunteers.


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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gucci Mane wanted in alleged assault at Ga. club

FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2010 file photo, rapper Gucci Mane arrives on the red carpet for the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta. An arrest warrant has been issued for Gucci Mane after a fan accused the rapper of hitting him in the head with a champagne bottle at a downtown Atlanta nightclub, Saturday, March 23, 2013. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2010 file photo, rapper Gucci Mane arrives on the red carpet for the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta. An arrest warrant has been issued for Gucci Mane after a fan accused the rapper of hitting him in the head with a champagne bottle at a downtown Atlanta nightclub, Saturday, March 23, 2013. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

(AP) ? An arrest warrant was issued for Gucci Mane after a fan told police the rapper hit him in the head with a champagne bottle at a downtown Atlanta nightclub.

James Lettley, of Fort Hood, Texas, said he was in Atlanta for his birthday and heard that the rapper ? whose real name is Radric Davis ? was going to be at the Harlem Nights Ultra Lounge promoting a new mixtape.

Lettley, 32, said Saturday he wanted to get a picture with the rapper and was talking to a security guard when he was hit March 16.

"Once he struck me in my head, I looked at him in a state of shock and looked at him like 'why?'" Lettley said. He said he was then hit in his face by a second man and left the club.

Police said the assault appeared to be unprovoked and caused a severe gash to Lettley's head.

He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital and said he had to get 10 stitches. Police said the rapper may have taken off in a white Chevrolet Tahoe.

Lyon said a warrant has been issued for aggravated assault. Calls to numbers listed for Davis were not returned Saturday. It's unclear if the rapper has an attorney.

Associated Press


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Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes dies in Sweden at age 94

FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2008 file photo, Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes, right, and his son Chucho Valdes perform during a joint concert at the Casa de America in Madrid, Spain. Bebo Valdes died Friday, March 22, 2013 in Sweden, according to the Society of Spanish Authors without specifying the cause of death. He was 94. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2008 file photo, Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes, right, and his son Chucho Valdes perform during a joint concert at the Casa de America in Madrid, Spain. Bebo Valdes died Friday, March 22, 2013 in Sweden, according to the Society of Spanish Authors without specifying the cause of death. He was 94. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2008 file photo, Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes, left, and his son Chucho Valdes pose before a joint concert in the Casa de America in Madrid, Spain. Bebo Valdes died Friday, March 22, 2013 in Sweden, according to the Society of Spanish Authors without specifying the cause of death. He was 94. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2008 file photo, Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes receives a plaque commemorating 1 million of copies sold of his joint album with Diego el Cigala called Lagrimas Negras (Black Tears) before a concert in the Casa de America in Madrid. Valdes died Friday, March 22, 2013 in Sweden, according to the Society of Spanish Authors without specifying the cause of death. He was 94. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2008 file photo, Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes acknowledges applause from the audience before a concert in the Casa de America in Madrid. Valdes died Friday, March 22, 2013 in Sweden, according to the Society of Spanish Authors without specifying the cause of death. He was 94. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)

(AP) ? Renowned Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes, a composer and bandleader who recorded with Nat "King" Cole, was musical director at Havana's legendary Tropicana Club and a key participant in the golden age of Cuban music, has died in Sweden at age 94.

The news of his death was confirmed by Cindy Byram, the agent of Valdes' son Chucho Valdes, who is a well-known musician in his own right. A cause of death was not given.

The senior Valdes studied piano and later taught it to Chucho (Jesus Dionisio Valdes), who went on to become a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Cuban-based jazz band Irakere.

The father began playing accompaniments at Havana's famous night clubs in the 1940s. He then worked with singer Rita Montaner as her pianist and arranger from 1948 to 1957, when she was the lead cabaret act at the Tropicana.

His orchestra Sabor de Cuba also accompanied singers Benny More and Pio Leyva at the club. It was during this period that he and rival bandleader Perez Prado developed the mambo, a rhythmic style of dance music that swept the world. Valdes and his orchestra devised another rhythm called the batanga which he said helped differentiate his sound from Perez Prado's.

The senior Valdes maintained a parallel interest in jazz music and took part in many important sessions, some recorded on Cuba's renowned Panart label.

"I was a jazz musician from a very young age," Valdes once said. "I started playing like the first jazz pianist I heard, a guy who was popular when I was a kid: Eddy Duchin." He said other influences were Fats Waller, Art Tatum, and Bill Evans.

In 1958, he worked on Nat "King" Cole's album "Cole Espanol," collaborating with arranger Nelson Riddle on the orchestral backing tracks that were all recorded in Havana. He also worked with singers Lucho Gatica and Mona Bell.

Following Fidel Castro's communist revolution in 1959, Valdes left Cuba, traveling to Mexico in 1960 accompanied by singer Rolando La Serie, but without his children.

Valdes said one day a revolutionary guard went to his house demanding the pianist accompany him to a plaza where Castro was giving a speech. "I asked if there was going to be music there and he replied to me that Castro was music," he said, adding that he then knew it was time to go.

After a brief stay in the United States, Valdes set off on a European tour.

Valdes went to Stockholm in 1963 for a concert with the Lecuona Cuban Boys and fell in love with a Swedish woman, Rose Marie Pehrson, a cavalry officer's daughter.

They got married the same year and he settled in Sweden. He described it as the most important moment of his life.

"It was like being hit by lightning," he said. "If you meet a woman and you want to change your life you have to choose between love and art."

Valdes lived in Stockholm until 2007 where he often struggled to interest people in Cuban music and Latin jazz. He earned a meager living playing in restaurants, on boat cruises and in some of Stockholm's finest hotels, although he said he did once consider becoming a bus or taxi driver.

Valdes was not able to see his increasingly well-known and Cuba-based son Chucho until 1978 when he visited New York for the first time in 18 years and attended a concert.

The father often told an anecdote of how a Cuban regime minder came up to him after the concert and said, "See how well we have shaped your son?"

He said he retorted, "I'm very glad, but when was that? Because Chucho played piano at home with me when he was four years old and at 16 he joined a band called Sabor de Cuba, my band."

Valdes' career got a late boost in 1994 when he teamed up with saxophone player Paquito D'Rivera to release a CD called "Bebo Rides Again."

"All musicians want to be famous and I think I've recently experienced some of the biggest moments of my life," Valdes told Svenska Dagbladet.

Nine years later Valdes worked with Spanish singer-songwriter Diego Cigala on "Lagrimas Negras," a flamenco-jazz fusion style CD that won Best Record of the Year by the New York Times. The experience attracted him to Spain where he settled after leaving Stockholm.

Valdes then worked with Chucho to release the CD "Juntos para Siempre" (Together Forever) in 2009. The father and son toured Europe at least twice.

Valdes won five Grammy Award in the categories of Best traditional tropical album and Best Latin jazz albums: two for "El arte del sabor" in 2002, one for "Lagrimas Negras" in 2004 and two for "Bebo de Cuba" in 2006.

Asked how he found the energy to keep performing he said, "What else would I do? Watch TV? No, I'd rather play the piano. I will play until I die."

Valdes is survived by wife Rose Marie, daughters Mayra and Miriam, sons Raul, Jesus "Chucho," and Ramon (born in Cuba) and Raymond and Rickard, who are Swedish.


Associated Press correspondents Karl Ritter in Stockholm and Sigal Ratner-Arias in New York contributed to this report.

Associated Press


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