Thursday, July 31, 2008

31 Travel Scholarships, Fellowships, and Grants to Fund Your Next Trip Abroad

Do your have a worthwhile project or field of study that involves traveling? If so, consider having your travels funded through a grant, fellowship, or travel scholarship.

Begin by contemplating where you want to go and potential projects you could build around those destinations. (Or vice versa.) Always wondered how sustainable agriculture works in Guam? How about local conservation practices in Central America? Once you have a clear vision of a travel / research project, begin looking for funding possibilities that give you the most freedom to pursue your goals.

When applying, take advantage of the resources and support systems you have. Your school, present or past, will have an adviser who can help you navigate the application process.

Writing grant proposals can take a lot of time, but good advice can help focus your efforts. Your school or area may even offer their own scholarship opportunities–talk to your department or your study abroad office.

Finally, even if funding from your school or other org close to home isn’t an option, you’ll find lots of other opportunities out there to fund your travel / project.

Major Grants

These are highly sought-after, competitive post-college grants that offer a full ride for a year or two of graduate study overseas.

Marshall Scholarship fully funds 2-3 years of graduate study in the UK. Open to US students finished with or finishing college.

Rhodes Scholarship funds two years of graduate study at Oxford. Includes full tuition and expenses and living stipend.

Fulbright offers year-long fellowships to American graduating seniors, grad students, young professionals and artists for study abroad or to teach English abroad. Program requirements vary by destination.

Posing at the Louvre. Photo by marshlight.

Watson Fellowship funds one year of independent research. $25,000. Open to graduating seniors from participating, small American colleges.

Program-based funding

These include grants tied to participation in the giver’s program, and can take various forms.

Institute for International Public Policy Fellowships is a five year program with study abroad component to prepare underrepresented minority undergrads for careers in international affairs. Open to US citizens or permanent residents who apply sophomore year.

Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowships multi-year program also for women and members of minorities underrepresented in foreign service. Open to US citizens to apply by Feb. of sophomore year. Foreign service commitment.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a State Department program supporting study abroad. Up to $5000 offered to enrolled students with financial need.

Rotary Ambassadorial and World Peace Scholarships fund study and language training abroad for undergraduates and masters degrees for graduate students in international studies, peace studies, and conflict resolution to be completed at one of seven Rotary Centers. Ambassadorial grants from $11000 to $24000 depending on duration of study.

Fogarty-Ellison Overseas Fellowships in Global Health and Clinical Research from the NIH funds one year of clinical research training abroad. $25,000 plus $6000 for additional travel and materials expenses. Open to graduate students in health professions.

CIEE Scholarships offers several grants to participants in CIEE’s study abroad programs. Certain grants fund study in particular regions. Essay required upon return. Must demonstrate financial need.

AIFS Scholarships offer a variety of grants covering up to full tuition and airfare for individuals in AIFS programs.

SIT Scholarships fund participation in SIT program. $500 to $5,000. Based on financial need.

Buenos Aires. Photo by Rob Paetz. –Do you have a beneficial project in mind but can’t afford traveling? Find the funds. They’re out there.

Hispanic Study Abroad Scholars reduces costs of Global Semesters programs. Open to students attending member institutions of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

Institute for International Public Policy Fellowship is a multi-year program of summer institutes and study abroad. Funds up to 1/2 of junior year study abroad tuition. Open to underrepresented minorities.

Regional Grants

These grants are tied to study or travel in specific regions or countries of the globe.

NSEP David L. Boren Scholarship pays for undergraduate students to study in understudied areas of interest to national security. $8000 to $20000 depending on duration of study. Comes with federal government service requirement.

NSEP Boren Fellowship for graduate students. $12000 to $30000 maximum award. Federal service requirement.

Critical Language Scholarships for Intensive Summer Institutes funds study of a list of lesser-studied languages. Covers all program costs. Open to US citizens enrolled in a college or university.

The Killam Fellowships Program fund semester or academic year study in Canada. $5000/semester plus a travel allowance. Open to US or Canadian undergraduates.

George J. Mitchell Scholarship sponsors one year of graduate study at an Irish University. Funded by the US-Ireland Alliance. Includes tuition and stipend. Open to American citizens, ages 18 to 30.

Slovakia, Bratislava. Photo by Rob Paetz.

BUTEX Scholarships offer $1000 for US students accepted to study at a member University of the British Universities TransAtlantic Exchange Association. Simple application due by September 1.

American-Scandinavian Foundation Awards for Study in Scandinavia offer fellowships of up to $23000 and grants of $5000 to fund study or research. Open to college graduates.

DAAD Fellowships from The German Academic Exchange offers a range of study and research grants to undergraduates and graduate students for summer or school-year study in Berlin.

Kress Travel Fellowships in the History of Art funds research in Europe towards dissertation. $3500 to $10,000. Open to American pre-doctoral students in art history

IREX Short Term Travel Grants Program Fellowships for researchers holding graduate degrees for up to eight weeks in Eurasia. Research must be broadly related to policy concerns.

Freeman Awards for Study in Asia supports study in Asia for students demonstrating financial need. $3000-$7000 based on the duration of study. Open to undergraduates with little to no experience in country of travel.

Bridging Scholarships are offered by the Association of Teachers of Japanese , to fund travel and living expenses for academic study in Japan. Grants range from $2500 to $4000.

Monbusho Scholarships available to current and graduated students between 18 and 30. Funded by the Japanese government. Short term exchange program of particular interest to current undergrad and grad students.

Huayu Enrichment Scholarship for Mandarin language study in Taiwan. Stipend of approx US$790/month. Open to overseas students who apply through their local Taiwan representative.

Halide Edip Adıvar Prize For current undergraduates who have not studied Turkey. $1000. Open to American and Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Other funding

Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grants towards study abroad. $1000. Open to all students of universities with a Phi Kappa Phi chapter.

NSF: Developing Global Scientists and Engineers offers funds for international research and study to undergrads, grad students and doctoral students in science and engineering fields. Grant

Emma Jacobs

Emma Jacobs is a student and freelance writer based in New York City. She developed a travel bug a couple of years ago she has yet to shake.

Original here

Find Clarity in One Day

Photo: Stock Photo

Do you ever get so busy with the details of your life and the countless things you need to complete, that you end up feeling exhausted and disconnected?

The result: Your mind becomes clouded and unable to focus and you start to make poor decisions regarding your priorities. You end up working hard instead of working smart.

What do you do when this happens? Do you take the time to step out of the situation to regroup? Or do you continue with what you’re doing, all the while feeling that you’re running out of time, besides you still have a massive list of tasks to complete. In the past, my natural inclination was to do the latter and, in the end, I would be left feeling burnt out with my spirits down.

Lately I’ve been running around preparing for several major changes in my life. I’ve felt my mind becoming consumed by the problems revolving around these changes. My eating schedule became irregular and my decisions felt clouded. When my clarity started to fizzle, I found myself making decisions and judgments based on emotions rather than on logic or intuition arising out of clarity.

The following is a simple technique I’ve used to reconnect myself to what’s most important: my inner self. In doing so, Clarity came.

Clarity Day

I’ve always been attracted to the idea of a Spiritual Day or a Clarity Day, in which you spend the whole day disconnected from the information world and the many distractions of modern life, and start to connect within yourself.

If this sounds too mystical, don’t get caught up with the words, they are just linguistic symbols to communicate ideas. When you really get into such a day, it can become a source of great bliss and understanding of one’s self. During these times, we can experience tremendous personal growth, peace, and satisfaction.

This is also the perfect chance to clear out the noise and mental clutter that collects in our inner space from the hectic demands of our life. Through better understanding of ourselves and our surroundings, we gain more than clarity, we gain self confidence.

Similar to Self Dates or Alone Time, on a Clarity Day your goal is to spend an enjoyable day on your own and away from everyday distractions. Aim for minimal planning, so that you spend the day following your heart and enjoying the spontaneous expressions of the present moment.

Here’s an example of how I spent this past Saturday, when I deeply needed clarity and to connect with myself:

  • Basics - From 8am to 8pm. I was doing everything on my own, without friends or family. All distractions such as cell phones, home phones, computers, and TVs, were turned off.
  • Salon - I’ve always enjoyed getting my hair done. My favorite salon straightens my hair at each appointment. I sat there with my eyes closed and enjoyed being there. The girls kept asking me if I needed a magazine, and I would say “No thanks. I’m happy just sitting here.”
  • Walk - I walked out of the downtown Salon and drifted randomly uphill to the Capital Hill neighborhood. The day was so beautiful. I enjoyed looking up at the sky and passing by families of tourists and Saturday shoppers.
  • Café - I found a comfortable corner seat by the large windows at a local café. I pulled out my book and my journal. Periodically, I would sit back with my book in my lap and enjoy watching people. People are so interesting, and if you try, you can sense what people are feeling. I had a fantastic seat for people watching and deeply enjoyed the experience.
  • Meet a Stanger - I started talking with an interesting new friend who sat next to me. We talked about happiness, art, and creativity. It was very simulating and felt good to connect with another human being; they add meaning and dimension to your life.
  • Read - I read Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. A short but enlightening read. It is full of bite sized wisdom to help find the stillness within you.
  • Meditation - 35 minute guided meditation. When I opened my eyes after the meditation, I felt like I was seeing the world with new eyes. I felt calm and happy. I followed this up by lying down on my yoga mat and visualizing all of the things I am grateful for. I got up feeling incredibly centered and present.
  • Journaling - with my new found clarity, I wrote out my thoughts and feelings. In doing this, it gave me a chance to organize my thoughts (which were the source of my problems), along with options for dealing with them. I’ve learned that recording emotional events and personal realizations in a journal can be a fulfilling experience. Especially when you read the entries several years later.

I stepped out of the day in a peaceful state and had regained my clarity. I felt like my spirit had been recharged. It also became clear that my problems are only as big as I perceive them to be, in my mind.

How to Start

Despite the unplanned mantra of a Clarity Day, some level of planning is still beneficial for the sake of those around us. Here are some simple steps to start incorporating these blissful days into your life.

1. Time - Set aside a full day (8 hours minimum). Setup an appointment with yourself. Block out the time on your calendar, if necessary.

2. Communication - Let people know what you are doing, especially people you live with. You can either coordinate with your spouse, such that they are away from the house during this time, or you can plan to be away.

3. Turn off All Distractions - Turn off the TV, phones, blackberries, computers, radios and video games. Reduce exposure to public media: put away the newspapers, magazines, & fliers.

4. List Ideas - Answer the questions “What do I enjoy doing? What would I want to do if I had the time? What activities do I want to try?” List all your ideas down on paper. Making a list is not absolutely necessary, but it will encourage you to look forward to your day, and it also provides guidance if you aren’t sure what you want to do. The only rule is that these activities cannot involve the devices you’ve turned off in step 3.

5. Follow Your Heart - Go out and start doing these things. When you feel that you are done doing something, ask yourself “What do I feel like doing now?” If you are unsure, refer to the list you’ve created from step 4.

6. Awareness - Become present and enjoy everything that you are doing, as you are doing it. When you find your mind wondering off, bring your awareness back to the activity you are doing. For example, if you are taking a walk, bring awareness to your every step, or bring awareness to the details of your surroundings: the people passing by, the trees, the sky, the sidewalks, etc.

7. Remember to Breathe - Remember to take deep breathes. This will help you relax.

8. Wins & Realizations - Throughout the day, or at the end of the day, write out what you’ve learned about yourself, or other self realizations. Everything we experience can be taken as a learning experience; either as a lesson of appreciation or to gain wisdom and understanding.

Ideas for Clarity Day

The steps are pretty simple. Any activity that you enjoy not involving exposure to media will do wonders for your personal wellbeing.

Photo by Kara Pecknold

If you need, here are some ideas of potentially enjoyable activities to get you started.

  • Brain Dump - Start writing on a piece of loose paper all the random thoughts coming out of your head. Write everything down, without editing, as fast as you can. It’s interesting to see the randomness of the clutter in our mind, often full of worry.
  • Hiking - Spend a few hours communing with nature.
  • Biking - Ride your bike around the city or park.
  • Working Out - Head to the gym and get a good workout.
  • Swimming & Running- great stress releases and excellent cardio workouts.
  • Writing in a Journal - Record your thoughts and current state of mind in a journal.
  • Yoga Class - Take a yoga class at your local gym or yoga studio. Alternatively, get a beginner’s yoga DVD. I recommend Rodney Yee.
  • Book Store - Browse through a bookstore.
  • Clean Up - Take some time to clean up and clear out the physical clutter in your living space.
  • Read a Book - Curl up with a good book you’ve wanted to read. I prefer inspirational books on these types of days.
  • Reorganize - Reorganize your bookshelf or CD collection
  • Listen to Music - Put on something you enjoy and try just sitting there listening to the music. Put all your awareness into the sound, and take notice of how your body is responding to the sound.
  • Meditation and Breathing - Try a guided meditation or spend 10-30 minutes in silence. Close your eyes and put all your awareness onto your breath. When you find your mind wandering off with random thoughts (and it will), simply let go of any self-criticism and return your focus back to your breath.
  • People Watch - Sit quietly at a café, restaurant or park, and observe the people around you, the people walking past you.
  • Draw a Picture - draw or paint. If you believe that you can’t draw, I highly recommend this book.
  • Take 100 Photos - Select a random number, say 100. Go out with a camera and take 100 pictures.
  • Sitting Outside - On a nice day, sit on your patio or balcony with a refreshing drink. Alternatively, go to a peaceful park. Feel yourself relaxing.

  • Communing with Nature - If you have access to a body of water or a stream, or views of mountains, or access to a forest, be with them. Sit in front of them and admire their enormity. Connecting with nature helps us to connect with ourselves.
  • Spend Time with your Pet - Take your pet on a walk. Play with them and pet them. If you have a dog, teach them a new trick or take them to a doggie class.
  • Stretch
  • Discover Your Life Purpose
  • Goal Setting - Write out your goals. For each goal, list out a set of sub goals which contributes to the larger goal. For each sub goal, list out a set of small projects to help you achieve them. For each project, list out a series of tasks and action items. Prioritize the tasks. Schedule to execute the tasks.
  • Soak in a Bath - This can be quite a relaxing and enjoyable experience. I prefer to listen to soft music and do some simple visualization while in the tub.
  • Visit the Zoo - Random, but can be fun. Brings out the child in you.
  • Simplify Your Life - Gather unwanted or unused stuff into a box. Donate it.
  • Visit the Library - Remember to avoid the magazine section on this day.
  • Gardening - Spend a few hours puttering in the backyard.
  • Gratitude - Focus on the things you are thankful for. You can either list them out verbally or write them out on a piece of paper.
  • Get a Massage - Threat yourself to a massage. You can often get discounted prices from a massage school clinic.
  • Symphony - Attend a symphony or local music event.
  • Meet 2 Strangers - Make it a goal to meet X number of strangers. I picked 2 randomly.
  • Do your laundry
  • Mindful Eating - Cook a healthy meal and practice eating mindfully: Take a small bite, put the fork down, and focus all your attention on the food in your mouth. Pick up the fork only when you have completely swallowed the last bite. When your mind wanders, bring your awareness back to the food or your breath.
  • Dance in the Living Room
Original here

McCain Biopsy Shows No Cancer

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks to reporters during a tour of the Red Ribbon Ranch Oil Lease, San Joaquin Facilities Management Inc., Monday, July 28, 2008, in Bakersfield, Calif. Three-time melanoma survivor John McCain had a spot of skin removed from his right cheek early Monday that he said would undergo a biopsy as a precaution. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

WASHINGTON — A biopsy of a small patch of skin removed from Republican Sen. John McCain's right cheek showed no evidence of skin cancer, doctors said Tuesday.

"No further treatment is necessary," Michael Yardley, a spokesman for the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., said in a statement released through McCain's presidential campaign.

The GOP nominee-in-waiting had the skin removed Monday as a precaution during a regular checkup with his dermatologist near Phoenix.

The Arizona senator, who suffered severe sun damage from his 5 1/2 years in Vietnamese prison camps, gets an in-depth skin cancer check every few months because of a medical history of dangerous melanomas. He has survived three bouts of melanoma that included four lesions.

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Smoke Job

Dr. Drew on New York's ban on cigarettes for addicts

By Brian Braiker

smoking banning rehab celebrity
Evans Ward / VH1

With a new regulation that struck some observers as counterintuitive, if not downright counterproductive, New York became the first state in the country to ban smoking at all addiction recovery centers. The regulation, passed by the state's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, encourages integration of nicotine addiction into treatment plans for other chemical addictions and make all state-accredited facilities completely smoke-free environments. "New York is leading the way and it is to be commended for that," says Michael Miller, president and board chairman of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. "People who have other drug addictions should be encouraged to stop smoking." Indeed, a 2004 study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that smoking cessation during addiction treatment was associated with a 25 percent better chance of maintaining long term abstinence from alcohol and drugs.

But many addicts say they rely on cigarettes to help them through the treatment of their other, more problematic addictions. "This policy is saying that if someone [in New York] wants to quit heroin, but is not ready to give up cigs, well, sorry but you can't get treatment," says Tony Newman of the drug law reform advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance, which opposes the ban. If living from cigarette to cigarette is what it takes to get a more dangerous monkey off your back, Newman argues, then shouldn't the treatment facilities turn a blind eye to tobacco? "It's an important and confusing topic," concedes Drew Pinksy, better known as Dr. Drew, the addiction medicine specialist cohost of the nationally syndicated radio show Loveline. Newsweek's Brian Braiker called Pinksy, who was also featured in the VH1 reality show "Celebrity Rehab," at his treatment center in Pasadena, Calif., to discuss the role cigarettes can play in addiction recovery — and whether he thinks New York's ban goes too far. Excerpts:

Were you aware of this ban?
I was not but it's interesting because in California you're not allowed to smoke indoors. I remember 15 years ago when I made my unit a non-smoking unit, not only did I have mutiny from the patients, I had mutiny from the staff! The staff all smoked. You would have thought I was asking they all have their leg cut off for me. Then California stepped in and made everything non-smoking except certain areas outdoors. Since those days some literature has come in [that has shown] generally if people stop smoking at the same time they stop their drug of choice, their outcome is a little better. However there is almost a folklore in the recovering community that you deal with your worst demon first, then deal with your other demons later.

Some are worried that people who need help for drugs and alcohol in New York won't pursue treatment because they aren't ready to quit smoking.
I understand that, and it's a reasonable concern. However, I'd be surprised if that really becomes an issue.

I seem to recall that in "Celebrity Rehab" that at your treatment center, your patients smoke.
Oh yeah, I can't make them stop. I tried. By the way, I put every single one of them on a medication that helps them stop. None of them stopped during their treatment. In the profession of addiction medicine, we are trying to raise an ethos that if we don't deal with the nicotine addiction as well, we are really doing a disservice to our patience. While heroin is what's threatening their life in the moment, ultimately nicotine is what's going to take their lives.

You're not about to kick your patients out for smoking.
Patients rights require us to give the patients an area to smoke. In California you're required to let the patients smoke!

I've heard nicotine ranks among the most difficult habits to kick.
And to stay away from, absolutely, like any addiction. But they are going to get nicotine- and tobacco-related diseases. That's just going to happen. All my 20-year sober patients die of lung cancer because they don't stop smoking. Have I really helped? I guess I did if they have a flourishing life in the meantime. I share the concern that [this ban] may drive people away from treatment. Really what it will do, I bet, is drive people to come to treatment only when they're really desperate. Which, by the way improves outcome — when you have someone really ready to work, they get better.

Right. But then everyone else who's not quite as ready may not get help.
It's a serious issue. It's a really serious concern. Let's put it this way, I don't think I would have made this law. It's a bold law; I understand where they're going with it. I'm just not sure I would have done it. Maybe we could do some study that says "would you be less likely to come to treatment if you couldn't smoke." Of course, they'd all say yes.

Do you see this as potentially spreading to other states?
If people started spending their energy here, I'll be kind of upset because we have other issues.

Like what?
Just getting resources for treatment. You can't keep anybody in treatment for more than three to five days out here. Insurance won't pay for it. There are no beds available. There are no resources. And no one holds insurance's hand to the fire about this. Doctors have absolutely zero say over how long you treat an addict. That's a whole other story.

Is there a culture of restriction at treatment facilities? For example, what is the tolerance for lesser vices like caffeine, or sex?
Sex is a no; relationships are what take people out. Caffeine is not actually a stimulant. It removes a nervous system depressant so the brain can feel stimulated. Addicts will always put things in their mouth. They always try to alter [their perception] automatically — that's their orientation. Of course we want that behavior to stop. However, there's no evidence that caffeine alters their course [of recovery]. We used to say the same thing about nicotine. Now there is evidence that we should be focusing on stopping nicotine early.

Instead of after, say, crack?
Most of them get to the cigarettes eventually. The fact is, most of the people serious about their sobriety have to take a look at nicotine. And they usually do. Is this [ban] going too far? I just don't know.

Original here

Men become happier than women by midlife

By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY

Women start out as happy young adults but by midlife wind up the sadder sex, says a new study on satisfaction related to financial circumstances and family life, which past research has shown play a significant role in well-being and happiness.

Researchers analyzed decades of national data on 47,000 men and women to create a statistical model that shows women's happiness decreases, while men's increases, exceeding women's by age 48.

"Our approach looks at the aspirations people have and how well they fulfill them," says economist Anke Plagnol, at the University of Cambridge in England, the study's lead author.

Plagnol and co-author Richard Easterlin, an economist at the University of Southern California, used data from Roper surveys and from the General Social Survey at the University of Chicago.

The study, to be published in the next issue of the Journal of Happiness Studies, says that early in adult life, women are more likely than men to fulfill their aspirations for material goods and family life, but later, they may be divorced or separated and less financially secure. Meanwhile, men's finances and family life improve, making them "the happier of the two genders," the study says.

Economist David Blanchflower of Dartmouth University, one of several researchers who have studied the effects of age on happiness, says this new research is "really important work" because it shows how people form aspirations differently.

This study looked only at satisfaction with finances and family; other researchers say future studies need to delve into other factors that might affect happiness, such as divorce and religiosity.

"Marriage and religion are two of the biggest factors in life satisfaction," says Arthur Brooks, a Syracuse University economist.

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New therapy for HIV treatment

Research co-authored by the University of New South Wales' (UNSW) National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (NCHECR) shows that the majority of patients who have not responded to traditional treatments have had good results from a new combination therapy.

The drug raltegravir is already available in Australia and was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme on July 1st, with clinical trials showing that it is safe, effective and with minimal side-effects when used with other anti-HIV medicines.

The study, which has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows the raltegravir effectively lowers the amount of virus in the blood to undetectable levels in 62 percent of people taking it in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.

Only one in three people who received a placebo plus other anti-HIV medicines had the amount of virus in the blood reduced to similar levels.

"This is the first drug in a new class of antiretroviral drugs called integrase inhibitors," said UNSW Professor David Cooper AO, the Director of NCHECR .

"The drug has a different mechanism of action, is very potent, seems very safe and has helped patients who have a virus that is resistant to older drugs and classes," said Professor Cooper.

"It initially will be used in developed countries, but hopefully, it will be made available at cheaper prices for patients in developing countries who are facing the same problems," said Professor Cooper.

The results were based on analyses of viral load reductions and CD4 cell count increases. A high CD4 cell count is crucial for a healthy immune system.

Professor Cooper said the efficacy shown at 48 weeks of treatment was consistent with observations at 24 weeks, indicating that the drug in combination has a durable effect.

The study shows the drug is well-tolerated by patients. It showed that only 0.9 percent of those receiving raltegravir discontinued therapy due to side-effects including nausea and headaches.

Original here

Caffeine use common in athletes

Female athlete
Caffeine is no longer a banned drug

British athletes routinely use caffeine to boost their performance, say researchers.

A third of track and field athletes and 60% of cyclists reported taking caffeine before competing, a Liverpool John Moores University study found.

The drug was removed from the list of banned substances in 2004 but its use is still monitored.

The study's authors said it raised concerns that athletes were exploiting caffeine to gain an advantage.

In recent years there have been widely publicised fears about increasing doping in sport and Beijing officials are planning on doing 25% more drug tests than were done in Athens.

There is a question about whether or not sporting authorities are condoning its use
Dr Neil Chester

Study leader Dr Neil Chester said the World Anti-Doping Agency had not been clear about why caffeine had been removed from the list but he understood it was because it was too hard to distinguish between normal social use and abuse of the drug.

A total of 480 athletes were questioned for the study, through athletics or cycling clubs and at sporting events.

They reported using caffeine in the form of energy drinks, sports supplements, pills and coffee, the International Journal of Sports Medicine reported.

Elite athletes were more likely to use caffeine to improve their performance than those who took part in sport recreationally.


Dr Chester said caffeine had been shown to be beneficial for endurance events and would also increase the alertness of athletes.

He added that the fairly recent introduction of caffeine to energy and sports drinks had increased the opportunity for athletes to consume the drug in high doses.

"There's been a lack of communication from WADA and there is a question about whether or not sporting authorities are condoning its use," he said.

"Ultimately there is a need to clarify the use of caffeine within the present anti-doping legislation."

Mark Stuart, who was a pharmacist for the Sydney Olympics and who has just written an editorial on the topic for BMJ Clinical Effectiveness, said there was an "obvious difference" between the view of the authorities and that of the athletes on the benefits of caffeine.

"There still seems to be some scope for athletes to exploit commonly available dietary supplements, such as caffeine, with minimal consequence."

Dr Samantha Stear, national nutrition lead at the English Institute of Sport, said there had been a lot of confusion among athletes about caffeine use which had been restricted but then moved to the monitoring list because caffeine was present in so many foods.

"Some find it beneficial and some don't, it's very dependent on the individual.

"We try and work with the minimal amount that's needed for the athlete."

A spokesman for the World Anti-Doping Agency said research suggested that caffeine actually damaged performance when used in significant quantity.

In addition, as caffeine was metabolised at different rates by different people, there was a danger that athletes could face sanctions simply for social consumption.

Original here

Law prof and cop agree: never ever ever ever ever ever ever talk to the cops about a crime, even if you're innocent

In a brilliant pair of videos, , Prof. James Duane of the Regent University School of Law and Officer George Bruch of the Virginia Beach Police Department present a forceful case for never, ever, ever speaking to the police without your lawyer present. Ever. Never, never, never.

It's a long commitment -- 45 minutes to watch them both -- but boy is it worth it. Might save you 5-10 some day, too.

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Why Are There No Cheap Electric Cars?

Written by Hank Green

I see this question in my inbox or in comments several times per week. The asker generally proposes one of several possibilities. These range oil-company assassinations to esoteric problems with the car's transmissions.

Fortunately for everyone, it's neither as exciting as assassination or as mundane as fundamental mechanical flaws. It's a collection of problems, actually, that are slowly being overcome.

And though we can't do it today, five years down the road, the future of electric cars will look a lot brighter.

So here's a collection of problems and their upcomming solutions:

Problem #1: Car manufacturers have put many billions of dollars and almost a hundred years into the development of the internal combustion engine, and they don't want to (or can't even imagine how to) abandon that investment for new technology.

Solution: It only took a global crisis, a quadrupling of gas prices and the majority of consumers shifting to efficient cars to convince them that maybe gasoline wasn't the best idea. Now even the biggest, oldest and stodgiest of the car manufacturers are investigating electric cars.

Problem #2: Batteries do not store power as efficiently as fossil fuels. They are heavy, bulky and provide far less power per unit of weight than gasoline, ethanol or hydrogen.

Solution: The EV1 overcame this by being a truly tiny car, and having a fairly low top speed. But still it could only travel less than 100 miles on a charge. Now cars are being updated with Lithium Ion batteries which can carry far more power per pound (though still not as much as gasoline.)

And range-extended EVs like the Chevy Volt allow the battery to remain small, while the on-board ICE can recharge the batteries when they get low. And, even more fascinating, an ultra-stealth company called EEStor says they have a new ultracapacitor technology that could store far more energy than batteries, and charge in just a few minutes

Problem #3: Filling a gas tank takes five minutes, charging a battery can take as long as 12 hours.

Solution: I'll start with EEStor again, who says that their ultracapacitors can charge in minutes but still power a car for over 300 miles. Pheonix Motorcars has a nanotech based Li-ion battery that can also be charged in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, both of these technologies require extremely high voltage, so the cars could not be charged quickly at home.

Extra infrastructure in the form of charging stations would be necessary to allow these batteries to charge quickly.

Other solutions to the long-charge-time include Project Better Place's plan to have battery swapping stations (instead of gas stations.) The idea being that PBP owns the batteries, and chargest them at stations. A car-wash-like facility swaps out a freshly charged battery for your used one. This, as well requires a ton of new infrastructure though.

The Chevy Volt, finally, takes a middle road, and basically lets you charge the battery with gasoline when you really need it. So you can charge at home with electricity over long periods, but if you need a boost NOW the gasoline option is always available.


Without overcoming those obstacles, there would indeed never be a cheap, convenient, mass-market electric car. But the good news is, we're on the verge of overcoming (or, in some cases, have already overcome) the limitations of previous eelectric cars.

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Portrait of Woman Revealed Beneath Van Gogh Painting

By LiveScience Staff

A previously unknown portrait of a woman by Vincent van Gogh has been revealed in a high-tech look beneath another of his paintings, it was announced today.

Scientists used a new technique to peer beneath the paint of van Gogh's "Patch of Grass." Already it was known there was something there, likely a portrait of some sort. Van Gogh was known to paint over his work, perhaps as much as a third of the time.

Behind the painting, done mostly in greens and blues, is a portrait of a woman rendered in browns and reds.

The new technique is based on "synchrotron radiation induced X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy" and is said to be an improvement on X-ray radiography, which has been used to reveal concealed layers of other famous paintings. The new method measures chemicals in the pigments. Specifically, mercury and the element antimony were useful in revealing the woman's face.

The work was done by researchers at Delft University of Technology in the the Netherlands and the University of Antwerp in Belgium, along with help from other institutions.

"Patch of Grass" was painted by van Gogh in Paris in 1887 and is owned by the Kröller-Müller Museum.

The reconstruction enables art historians to understand the evolution of van Gogh’s work better, the researchers said in a statement. And the new technique is expected to pave the way for research into many other concealed paintings.

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