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Friday, January 16, 2009

CNBC: A Gallery of Medical Marijuana

A Gallery of Medical Marijuana

By: Oliver Quillia,

A Gallery of Medical Marijuana

Positions on the medical use of marijuana vary, but thousands of patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, and other diseases claim marijuana provides them relief from devastating symptoms such as intractable nausea, vomiting.

In a 1997 article for the The New England Journal of Medicine, Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., wrote that physicians who prohibit prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patient are misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane.

We asked High Times Cultivation Editor Danny Danko if he could help us put a cost on this relief and what types of pain they ease.

Source: High Times


Marijuana Inc. Inside America's Pot Industry
Premieres Thursday, January 22 at 9p |1a ET.

The newest powerhouse of the Kush/Diesel family, Chemdog's potency is the stuff of legend, with glaucoma sufferers in particular praising its qualities for relieving eye pressure. Users say its odor can overpower a room.

1 ounce: $500-650
1 pound: $5500-6500

Source: High Times

Jack Herer
Named for the infamous "Hemperor," this strain is a throwback to potent imports from Central and South America. Users claim this strain is a very good appetite stimulant.

1 ounce: $350-400
1 pound: $4200-4800

Source: High Times

Island Sweet Skunk
From Vancouver Island, the heart of British Columbia's thriving pot industry, comes the Island Sweet Skunk, which medical users claim has a powerful "up" high.

1 ounce: $300-400
1 pound: $3500-4200

Source: High Times

Kali Mist
Users of the Kali Mist say it possesses increased mental upliftment yet a relaxed "body high," qualities that sufferers of spasm and anxiety find very helpful.

1 ounce: $350-400
1 pound: $4600-5000

Source: High Times

O.G. Kush
Long prized in California for its intense medicinal qualities, its admirers are growing across the country and overseas.

1 ounce: $550-700
1 pound: $6000-7000

Source: High Times

NYC Diesel
Not to be confused with the Sour Diesel, the NYC Diesel is less harsh than other strains of marijuana. Users claim the scent of ripe grapefruit with hints of cinammon and cardamom provide a calming aromatherapy.

1 ounce: $400-450
1 pound: $4800-5400

Source: High Times

Sour Diesel
The East Coast version of the Kush, Sour Diesel's power is unrivaled when grown correctly.

1 ounce: $550-650
1 pound: $5800-6800

Source: High Times

A Nor-Cal staple, Trainwreck is easy to grow and very powerful. Patients suffering from nausea, headaches or chronic pain call it a godsend.

1 ounce: $350-400
1 pound: $4000-4500

Source: High Times

Super Silver Haze
Super Silver Haze is renowned for stimulating properties and is sometimes referred to as "ampheta-weed."

1 ounce: $400-550
1 pound: $4500-5500

Source: High Times

Sweet Tooth
Thi train has become popular due to its high resin count and a sugary taste on the tongue. Users claim it provides relief from stress and tension.

1 ounce: $350-400
1 pound: $3800-4600

Source: High Times

Purps has become shorthand for almost any lavender-colored pot. The best representations provide a sweet candy flavor and a mild yet uplifting high.

1 ounce: $400-500
1 pound: $4800-5600

  • Related Articles on CNBC:
Is Now The Time To Legalize Drugs?
Inside America's Pot Industry

  • Remember to Watch:
Marijuana Inc. Inside America's Pot Industry
Premieres Thursday, January 22 at 9p |1a ET.

2009 Fittest Cities in America

From Men's Fitness: These 25 towns thrive on being active

Your environment has a lot to do with the health habits you develop. Does your city have more Pizza Huts than health clubs? Then maybe it's time for a move.

As we've done for more than a decade, MF collected and analyzed reams of data on the 50 most populated areas in the nation in an effort to determine just which cities take fitness the most seriously. Here are the 25 that landed on this year's list of the Fittest Cities in America.

10.) Virginia Beach, VA

  • Air quality here is among the best of any city in our survey, according to EPA air quality standards.

  • Residents don't have far to go to find a park: Virginia Beach has 253 municipal parks, among the most of any city on a per capita basis, according to our exclusive survey of municipal park departments.

  • Virginia has "snack tax" laws aimed at reducing obesity and improving nutrition.

  • 9.) Omaha, NE

  • Nebraska is one of 28 states that participate in a CDC-sponsored program to reduce obesity and other chronic diseases.

  • Golfers can choose from 9 city-owned courses. Relative to population, that's more than almost anywhere else we surveyed.

  • Omaha residents are 96 percent more likely than average to play recreational baseball. For you stat fans, that's the highest participation rate in our survey.

  • 8.) Seattle, WA

  • The CDC says 53 percent of adults here get either 30 minutes of moderate exercise five or more days a week or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three or more times per week.

  • According to Nielsen Media Research, TV viewers in the Seattle television market spend 25 percent less time in front of the tube than average among cities in our survey.

  • Residents don't have far to go to find a park: Seattle has 430 municipal parks, among the most of any city on a per capita basis, according to our exclusive survey of municipal park departments.

  • 7.) Honolulu, HI

  • Health-food stores are plentiful in Honolulu: There's one for every 4,525 residents, handily beating the national average of one store per 12,118 people.

  • Honolulu has 42 percent fewer pizza places per capita than the average among cities in our survey.

  • In a per capita comparison of public pools, Honolulu has one pool for every 17,884 residents — 60 percent more than average in our survey.

  • 6.) Portland, OR

  • You'll find a higher percentage of mountain bikers in Portland than almost anywhere else in our survey — 3.8 percent of residents. The national average is 2.5 percent.

  • Portland residents participate in sports much more than average — 7 percent more than average, in fact.

  • Residents don't have far to go to find a park: Portland has 294 municipal parks, among the most of any city on a per capita basis, according to our exclusive survey of municipal park departments.

  • 5.) Albuquerque, NM

  • Albuquerque residents are fanatics about fitness swimming — they do it about 61 percent more than average, the highest overall participation rate among cities in our survey.

  • Albuquerque residents are 62 percent more likely than average to go hiking. That's the 3rd highest participation rate in our survey.

  • Albuquerque's park acreage per capita is 261 percent higher than average and the 2nd highest in our survey.

  • 4.) Denver, CO

  • 5 percent of Denver residents practice martial arts, the highest participation rate in our survey.

  • Approximately 25 percent of Denver residents have a health club membership. That's 45 percent more than average, and the highest rate in our survey.

  • You'll find a higher percentage of mountain bikers in Denver than almost anywhere else in our survey — 11.5 percent of residents. The national average is 2.5 percent.

  • 3.) Minneapolis, MN

  • Basketball courts are practically everywhere here, among the highest number per capita in our survey. There's a court here for every 2,062 residents; the national average is one court per 6,909 people.

  • On a per capita basis, Minneapolis has 126 percent more gyms and health clubs than average, the 2nd highest in our survey.

  • Minneapolis residents are 82 percent more likely than average to play tennis — the highest rate of any city in our survey.

  • 2.) Colorado Springs, CO

  • The local commute is much easier than in most cities — 45 percent less oppressive than average, leaving more time to exercise and prepare healthy meals.

  • Colorado Springs residents are 100 percent more likely than average to go hiking. That's the highest participation rate in our survey.

  • 18.8 percent of Colorado Springs residents run or jog — 2nd highest in our survey.

  • 1.) Salt Lake City, UT

  • Approximately 29 percent of Salt Lake City residents exercise with dumbbells. That's 123 percent more than average and the highest rate in our survey.

  • A whopping 32.8 percent of Salt Lake City residents run or jog — highest in our survey.

  • Residents of Salt Lake City are 363 percent more likely than average to play racquetball, the highest rate in our survey.


    11. Milwaukee, WI
    12. San Francisco, CA
    13. Tucson, AZ
    14. Boston, MA
    15. Cleveland, OH
    16. St. Louis, MO
    17. Austin, TX
    18. Washington, DC
    19. Sacramento, CA
    20. Oakland, CA
    21. Atlanta, GA
    22. Fresno, CA
    23. Tampa, FL
    24. Nashville-Davidson, TN
    25. Pittsburgh, PA

    Do you make these 6 mistakes when buying a video card?

    atinvidiaSince I’ve been a computer geek, I’ve heard many horror stories of people buying a slow video card, thinking that they were getting a fast model.

    In general, people make the same several mistakes when they buy their video cards. Have they been with me, I’d have helped them avoid these 6 mistakes when buying a video card:

    1- Buying a video card based solely on the amount of memory.

    More is better, right? That’s their excuse when you have to justify your purchase to yourself or to your geek friend.

    Well yes, but not if you base your purchase solely on the amount of RAM. A video card performance is based on many other factors, such as the GPU chip model, the frequency of the GPU/memory, the memory bus width, etc.

    A good example of this would be someone buying a 8600GT 512MB over a 8800GT 256MB. Sure, it may have more memory, but every other factor will limit the card performance in comparison.

    Also keep in mind that you won’t need the extra memory unless you play at very high resolutions, such as 1920×1080 and/or with AA/AF quality filtering. Why? Because your video card won’t need/use it.

    2- Buying a lower-end new generation model over a higher-end old generation model.

    It’s newer, so it must be faster!

    Not so quickly. When in the majority of cases, this is true, it is not always true. So? Well, you might miss out on a really good deal, as stores tend to lower prices on older generations, to get rid of their old stock, to make space for the new stock.

    Now, the mistake some of you make is to choose your card by using the generation number first. You’d think that a 4xxx card from ATI is automatically faster than a 3xxx model. If you take a Radeon 3870, it’d trash a Radeon 4350 or be faster than a Radeon 4650.

    Let me quickly explain how model numbers work, using ATI’s 4850 model as an example.

    4850: The first number refers to the generation of the card. A higher number there means that the video card is based on a more recent generation, which always brings in improvements over the previous generation.

    4850: The second number refers to the range of that card. Same here, higher is better. In Ati’s case, for the 4xxx series, it goes mostly like this:

    • 3: Low end
    • 6: Mid range
    • 8: High performance

    4850: The last two numbers refer to the place of that model, within the hierarchy of that range of video cards (See second point, for the “8″); within a generation (See first point, for the “4″). In the vast majority of cases, a higher number means higher performance, but both ATI and Nvidia tricked people in the past with crippled GS/SE models, so keep an eye open for the suffix if there’s one. No, SE does not mean special edition!!

    Although ATI don’t really use suffix on their newer models, Nvidia still are. Here’s a quick reference, from slowest to fastest, when you compare two identical models otherwise:

    Just keep in mind that many older generation, higher-end models are often faster than some of the newer models, so make sure to google benchmarks and to compare prices!

    3- Not considering the space/power requirements.

    So you’ve avoided the two first mistakes, ended up buying a Geforce GTX280, are eager to play the newest games…only to realize that it doesn’t fit in your case! Good job =P

    This is especially true when you have a small format case, a HTPC or if you buy a high-end video card.

    Lesson here: Measure the space available for the video card in your case (Usually from the back of the case to the hard drive cage) and double-check the length of the card, which is usually found under the specs, before buying it. Check reviews and/or contact the store if you’re unsure.

    You’ve bought a great card, it fits in your case, but now you’ve one or several of the following problems? :

    • Your video card needs extra power connectors and you don’t have them.
    • Your computer won’t boot.
    • Your computer boots but crashes under games.

    I’m afraid that your power supply may not up to the task of powering your new video card. Now, that’s most probably it, but it might not be it, make sure to troubleshoot before buying a new power supply.

    4- Teaming a powerful video card with a slow Cpu

    Yay, you’ve got that new Radeon 4870X2 and you’re ready to dominate the virtual world. Only to see that you’re framerates are no where what you expected to be, according to all those reviews.

    Well, if you’re using such a powerful gpu with a slow cpu, lik an Intel E4300, it just won’t work as you want it to. Your cpu will bottleneck your video card performance, which mean that it won’t be able to keep up with it and your video card performance will be reduced as it always waits on the CPU.

    Simply try to keep your cpu performance in balance with your video card. If you get a midrange video card (9800 GTX, 4850) , try to team it with a midrange CPU (E7400 and such).

    If you use SLI/Crossfire or even better (or worse in this case), make sure to team up your video cards with a blazing fast quad-core CPU. Most games may not benefit from quad-core yet, but the video drivers and the cards themselves will. The new Core i7 cpus are a perfect fit here.

    5- Buying an overkill video card for the games that you play.

    If you play is Counter-Strike 1.6, WoW or the majority of games that are 2 years or older, you probably don’t need the lastest and fastest video card.

    If you play on a 17″ or 19″ screen, you probably don’t need the lastest and fastest video card.

    This is just like someone who buys a Mustang simply because they want more horsepower. Could they travel to work and do their everyday activities with a Honda Civic? Most probably.

    You will waste a lot of money, both on purchase, power consumption and on upgrading the rest of your system (Cpu and power supply) if you buy a video card that is overkill for your needs.

    Learn to listen to your wallet, think with your head and figure out how much power you really need for the games that you play!

    Now, some of you may not agree with this, as you’ll say that it’s good to have headroom for future games. I don’t think so. Why? By the time that the new game is out, your video card will still be able to handle it, perhaps at lower settings but newer video cards that offer higher performance for the same price will most probably be out by then.

    I think that it is better to upgrade at a low cost every so often than to buy some of the most expensive video cards all the time. Not to mention that higher-end cards tend to devalue faster than mid-range video cards. Just like higher-end cars.

    Now, if you absolutely need the fastest and most powerful video card with every new release, just to strike your ego and brag about it, go ahead, just be prepared to pay the price!

    6- Listening to the recommendations of only one person.

    The last, but certainly not the least of the common mistakes done when buying a video card: Listening to the opinion of a single person. What’s wrong with that?

    • The person may be a fanboy, who would recommend an inferior product from Nvidia or from ATI simply because they prefer that company.
    • The person may not have a clue of what they’re talking about. Not everyone have vast knowledge on video cards.
    • That person’s information may be outdated. After all, new video cards are released on a regular base (every couple of months, or even less)

    Always make sure to get the opinion of many trusted people, ask around on forums, contact me, read plenty of reviews and comparisons. You’re going to spend a lot of your hard earned cash on that card, so make sure it is the right one for you.

    Same goes for me. Don’t just listen to me, I’m human too hehehe.


    Buying a video card requires thoughtful thinking. With such a variety of cards available on the market, it may be confusing, so remember to avoid these mistakes, ask as many opinions as you can and shop around for good prices!

    What has been your experience when buying video cards? Have you made any of the mistakes or were you going to? Do you have any tips to share with us or any mistake that I’ve not mentionned that you think we should know of? Let us know in the comments section just below!

    Glimpse before Big Bang may be possible

    New model suggests cosmos unevenness could be imprint from beginning

    Image: Big Bang model
    Incomprehensible as it sound, inflation poses that the universe initially expanded far faster than the speed of light and grew from a subatomic size to a golf-ball size almost instantaneously.

    By Clara Moskowitz

    The universe appears to be lopsided, and a new model that aims to explain this anomaly could offer a glimpse of what happened before the birth of it all.

    When astronomers look out at the cosmos, the view in one direction is turning out to be different than in the other. Specifically, fluctuations in the density and temperature of the radiation left over from the theoretical Big Bang — called the Cosmic Microwave Background — seem to be strangely larger on one side of the universe.

    A new model suggests this unevenness could be caused by an imprint left over from before the beginning of the universe, that is, before the cosmos ballooned almost instantaneously from less than the size of an atom to about golf-ball size. This process is called inflation.

    Blowing up the balloon
    "Inflation theory does predict that we have these density and temperature fluctuations, but they should look the same everywhere across the sky," said Caltech astrophysicist Sean Carroll, who worked on the new model, detailed in the Dec. 16 issue of the journal Physical Review D. "But people who look at the data say they see one side of the universe has bigger fluctuations, and that's what we're trying to get a handle on."

    Scientists think the normal variations in temperature and density predicted by inflation became the seeds for the structure we see today throughout the universe. Soon after inflation, the denser areas would have attracted more matter and eventually grown into the clusters and galaxies we see today, while less dense regions would have become voids mostly absent of galaxies, stars and planets.

    Month in Space: Worlds of wonder
    See Saturn’s mysterious moon, Martian marvels and other cosmic highlights from December 2008.

    more photos

    But the normal model of inflation can't account for the asymmetry now noted. To try to explain that, Carroll, astrophysicist Marc Kamionkowski and graduate student Adrienne Erickcek (all at Caltech) tested a new version of inflation theory, in which two fields are responsible for the universe's early bloom of expansion.

    In the standard theory of inflation, one field called the inflaton (not inflation) caused both the rapid expansion of the universe and its density fluctuations. But Kamionkowski and team found that an unevenness in the density fluctuations could arise if inflation is caused by two fields instead of one. In the new model, the inflaton is responsible for ballooning the size of the universe, while a second field called the curvaton that had been previously proposed introduces the density variations.

    Before the Big Bang?
    The model also intriguingly hints at what might have come before inflation, since it suggests that the universe's lopsidedness may be an aftereffect of a great fluctuation that occurred before inflation began.

    "It's no longer completely crazy to ask what happened before the Big Bang," Kamionkowski said. "All of that stuff is hidden by a veil, observationally. If our model holds up, we may have a chance to see beyond this veil."

    The next step is to gather better data about the Cosmic Microwave Background, to confirm that the unevenness seen so far really holds up.

    "So far it seems to be in the data, but that doesn't mean it's in the universe," Carroll told "There's a chance this asymmetry is coming from errors in the data."

    A new European Space Agency satellite called Planck, designed to map the background radiation with unprecedented sensitivity and resolution, is set to launch in 2009. If Planck finds the radiation densities to be off-balance, too, then cosmologists must really come to terms with this puzzling aspect of inflation. Though it would require some serious amendments to current theories, many physicists would relish the challenge.

    "That's what everyone wants — it's much more interesting that way," Carroll said.

    © 2009 All rights reserved. More from

    McG Wants A Bad Boy To Go 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea!

    By Kellvin Chavez

    I am writing this after watching the Terminator Salvation roadshow presentation that I saw with my good buddy Ron Henriques, whose in depth coverage you can read HERE!

    Director McG did a hell of job selling the shit out of Terminator Salvation, and if you ask me, I think this guy deserves a chance to prove himself, and will do so with the Christian Bale driven Terminator sequel. There were many questions raised such as whether or not this is a John Connor or Kyle Reese/Marcus film and surprisingly it looks to lean towards the latter.

    Anyhow, the bigger story that I have to report came after the presentation. Just like I did for the Watchmen presentation where I got a chance to chat with DC Comics president Paul Levitz and talk about Superman when this sneak peek was over we all went out to have some drinks and got a chance to speak to McG personally.

    Ron and I talked a bit with Mcg about any time travel elements within this Terminator story and he explained the origins of the Marcus character and how his journey doesn't involve travellng to the past or present. I also asked him straight out “What the hell. Are we seeing Arnold or not?" to which he responded with a grin saying, “You have to wait and see, can’t give that away cause we’re in the Warner Bros. building and they will shoot me if I say anything”

    There I was with Ron and we’re getting our shit to leave, and McG was kind of still hanging out with us while the room emptied.

    I continued pressing McG for information and I remembered that at one time he was going to direct SUPERMAN, and he talked about what happened “I actually got fired from that due to my fear of flying.” As to how his vision would have been different he answered “I would’ve made it a much darker film. I like Bryan I think he's a fantastic director and I like Donner too, but I would have made it darker.” And would have he chose Lex Luthor as a villain or another? "DOOMSDAY. I like DOOMSDAY.”

    FINALLY I had to go for the kill so then I asked him, “How do you go from Terminator to the Captain Nemo story?”


    McG talked a bit about his idea and frankly I was getting my jacket to get out of there when all of a sudden I heard him say, “The character Nemo in this film is more about obsession, he is obsessed and people tend to forget that when you become so obsessed you end up being the villain.”

    AND THEN THE KILLER ANSWER!! (In an interesting way.)

    McG continues, “'Man I’m trying to get Will Smith to do it, been trying to get a hold of him. I've been wanting to work with him for a long time already. That guy's great”


    I stopped and looked at Ron and we both gave each other that “Did he say what I thought he just said” look. That’s right! McG is pitching to the studio that he wants Will Smith to play the lead role of Captain Nemo. Now, he mentions that Nemo’s antagonist is himself, a dark side that he battles with. So I am not sure if McG wants Smith to play Nemo played by James Mason in the original film or protagonist sailor Ned Land played by Kirk Douglas. Good, bad, or both? All I know is that he wants Will Smith, and is pushing the studios to go after him!

    What do you guys think? I think that it will be sort of interesting to see Smith play a villain for once if you ask me. I don’t think he’s ever played a villain. You all know that whatever Smith touches turns to box office gold…well with the exception of SEVEN POUNDS. So it would benefit the studio to consider him. Now it is just a matter of time whether or not Will Smith believes in McG. Pretty sure the success of Terminator Salvation could dictate that.

    And no this is not a RUMOR! This is coming straight from the man himself and FOR ALL YOU IN THE WEST COAST go ahead and find out yourself cause after posting this information I KNOW FOR A FACT that some of you will go ahead and start your investigation or ask McG about Nemo since he will be in LA doing the Terminator Salvation thing as well.

    2009 Fattest Cities in America

    From Men's Fitness: 25 towns in need of a fitness overhaul

    As we've done for more than a decade, MF collected and analyzed reams of data on the 50 most populated areas in the nation in an effort to determine just which cities take fitness the most seriously. Here are the 25 that landed on this year's list of the Fattest Cities in America.

    10.) Louisville-Jefferson, KY

  • According to Nielsen Media Research, viewers in the Louisville-Jefferson television market spend 15 percent more time in front of the tube than average among cities in our survey.

  • According to the CDC, 42.4 percent of adults here are heavy enough to increase their risk for weight-related health problems. Compare it to a national average of 36.09 percent.

  • Just 12 percent of Louisville-Jefferson residents have a health club membership. That's 33 percent less than average, and the lowest rate in our survey.

  • 9.) Charlotte, NC

  • Charlotte residents received a bottom score in fruit and vegetable consumption, with only 21 percent eating the recommended five or more servings per day.

  • Feel like hitting the public pool for a morning swim? Good luck finding one. Charlotte has one pool for every 67,159 residents — 52 percent fewer than average in our survey.

  • A mere 11.1 percent of Charlotte residents run or jog — 2nd lowest in our survey.

  • 8.) Jacksonville, FL

  • Florida state law limits or prohibits obesity-related lawsuits against food manufacturers and restaurants.

  • Jacksonville residents participate in sports much less than average — 18 percent less than average, in fact.

  • Just 9 percent of Jacksonville residents exercise with dumbbells. That's 30 percent less than average and the 4th lowest rate in our survey.

  • 7.) El Paso, TX

  • Basketball courts are practically nonexistent here, among the fewest per capita in our survey. There's just one court here for every 9,634 residents; the national average is one court per 6,909 people.

  • There are 134 percent fewer tennis courts per capita here than average among cities in our survey.

  • Golfers are limited to two city-owned courses. Relative to population, that's less than almost anywhere else we surveyed.

  • 6.) Houston, TX

  • Air quality here is among the most unhealthful of any city in our survey, according to EPA air quality standards.

  • Donuts are 132 percent more popular here than average, according to a comparison of places where they are sold. Houston has the 6th highest number of donut outlets per capita in our survey.

  • Just 2 percent of Houston residents have a home gym. That's 42 percent less than average, and the 4th lowest rate in our survey.

  • 5.) New York, NY

  • The local commute is much more oppressive than in most cities — 54 percent more oppressive than average, leaving less time to exercise and prepare healthy meals.

  • Our survey has found 87 percent fewer sporting-goods stores in New York than average an indicator of an inactive populace.

  • New York has one pool for every 135,648 residents — 207 percent fewer than average in our survey.

  • 4.) Las Vegas, NV

  • Fast food, widely implicated as a contributor to obesity, is more common in Las Vegas than most places in our survey. In a per capita comparison there are 68 percent more fast-food joints here than average.

  • Las Vegas has 106 percent more pizza places per capita than the average among cities in our survey.

  • Las Vegas has 69 municipal parks, among the fewest of any city on a per capita basis, according to our exclusive survey of municipal park departments.

  • 3.) San Antonio, TX

  • Just 12 percent of San Antonio residents have a health club membership. That's 31 percent less than average, and the 2nd lowest rate in our survey.

  • Just 2 percent of San Antonio residents have a home gym. That's 57 percent less than average, and the 2nd lowest rate in our survey.

  • According to the CDC, 28 percent of residents in the San Antonio area are clinically obese.

  • 2.) Oklahoma City, OK

  • Oklahoma City residents received a bottom score in fruit and vegetable consumption, with only 17 percent eating the recommended five or more servings per day.

  • Oklahoma City residents are 28 percent less likely to participate in fitness walking than average, the 2nd lowest overall participation rate among cities in our survey.

  • Basketball courts are practically nonexistent here, among the fewest per capita in our survey. There's just one court here for every 12,162 residents; the national average is one court per 6,909 people.

  • 1.) Miami, FL

  • Despite wide availability of local running and biking trails Miami residents are 35 percent less likely than average to jog or cycle.

  • Ice cream shops are 141 percent more popular in Miami than average.

  • Mayor Manuel A. Diaz participates in fewer fitness-related public events than most mayors.


    11. Memphis, TN
    12. Detroit, MI
    13. Chicago, IL
    14. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
    15. San Jose, CA
    16. Tulsa, OK
    17. Baltimore, MD
    18. Columbus, OH
    19. Raleigh, NC
    20. Philadelphia, PA
    21. L.A.-Long Beach, CA
    22. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
    23. Indianapolis, IN
    24. San Diego, CA
    25. Kansas City, MO

    Clinton Township man dreams of creating flying machine

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Charlie LeDuff / The Detroit News

    CLINTON TOWNSHIP -- The Macomb County moon man stood next to his forlorn flying saucer, which sat perched on milk crates in a weedy patch along Interstate 94. He railed against corporate conspirators and misinformed scientists.

    Click here for a VIDEO

    According to the moon man, a nefarious cabal has blocked him from laying his hands on the necessary money to complete his perpetual flying machine -- a machine he says, that could reach Mars in a mere two weeks.

    "Bankers promise calls they never return," said Alfie Carrington, who when not working in his laboratory makes ends meet as a part-time construction worker. "The governor's office told my mother no. And these so called scientific experts who have never seen it, say it won't work."

    And so the earthbound saucer sits north of 14 Mile, smothered in a blanket of bird-dung and snow.

    "I say 'Is saucer aircraft technology in somebody's college?' " he asked. "There's no MIT for this. There's no Berkeley for this. They say 'Where did you get your saucer information from.' Nowhere. Because the saucer information is in here."

    Alfie Carrington of Clinton Township says he's been working for 30 years developing his flying saucer, which sits in a lot north of 14 Mile. (Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)

    And with that, he knowingly tapped his temple with his forefinger.

    Carrington, 59, is one of those Michiganians with an obscure, beautiful mind who, in the dark recesses of his pole barn, tinkers with gadgetry or studies science or listens to Mahler into the late evening. But once this man leaves the orbit of his own private universe, he appears to the general public as a little more than a nut job, a loon, a man likely to find his end at the bottom of an unmarked grave.

    Carrington said he accepts disdain as the price of genius. And although he has no formal scientific training, Carrington does hold an associate's degree in psychology.

    "People think I'm nuts," he said.

    He claims he's spent 30 years and $60,000 of his own money building the flying saucer, which he insists will replace the automobile and render the combustion engine and gasoline irrelevant.

    Unfortunately, Carrington ran out of money before he could build his motor and hasn't been invited to this year's North American International Auto Show.

    To make a tall tale short, Carrington fell on hard times. His mother's feet swelled with diabetes, and she moved into his home. Construction jobs dried up. The saucer prototype fell into disrepair and was evicted from its hangar.

    Carrington grew forlorn and found solace in yoga, fried chicken and cold beer.

    But now, Carrington believes his saucer may indeed take flight, what with Washington prepared to hand-out $1.5 trillion in stimulus and bailout money.

    "Everybody else has got their hand out," said Carrington. "Wall Street, Chrysler, even Larry Flynt. I'm the only one that's got a plan. All I need is about $250,000. We could have it up and flying in nine months."

    Carrington, who holds an associate's degree in psychology and works part-time in construction, realizes his ideas may sound a bit far-fetched.

    Inspired by "Star Trek" episodes and science fiction novelist H.G. Wells, the simplest explanation of Carrington's flying saucer goes something like this: Measuring 14-feet in diameter and constructed of carbon fiber, the craft would have two discs that rotate in opposite directions. The discs would be fitted with electro-magnetic technology and would connect to a coil mounted in the interior of the discs, which in turn would send electrical power to batteries.

    This, according to Carrington, would create a continuous, perpetual power source. Steering would come by benefit of air ducts running through the craft that could be opened or closed for desired propulsional direction.

    "This is the answer to Detroit's problems," Carrington said. "Think of it as something like a flying car. It would have space capabilities too, but when I mention that, people treat me like I'm crazy."

    Listen to the man for 10 minutes and you too may start to become convinced. His pitch is so convincing in fact, that NASA warmly received him at a symposium 15 years ago only to grow cold when they realized he knew nothing about computers.

    Richard E. Wirz is an assistant professor at UCLA and formerly a senior engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who specializes in spacecraft integration and developed the world's first miniature noble gas ion thruster. He says Carrington's flyer-saucer has about as much chance of getting airborne as a dead elephant.

    "Using electro-magnetic energy to power his craft is like saying I'm using tires to power my car," says Wirz.

    "The power has to come from somewhere. He's talking about using batteries, but the size of batteries he needs would be so large, he wouldn't be able to get the craft off the ground. Did you see the 'Iron Man' movie? If he had a little reactor like that, then that might do the trick."

    But Wirz said the Moon Man should be supported not scorned.

    "Don't discourage the guy," the professor said.

    "One of his 100 ideas might actually be helpful. What would you have him do? Sit around watching reruns of 'Seinfeld?' We'd be better off with more men like him."

    You can reach Charlie LeDuff at (313) 222-2071 or

    Reflective Flower Shot

    pretty lat/long

    ~ more drops ~ by Licht~~~~

    ~ more drops ~

    ___ |~ ______ by Licht~~~~

    Senator Says Former FBI Agent Who Vanished in 2007 Is in Secret Iran Prison

    A U.S. senator revealed Tuesday that he believes a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran nearly two years ago is being held in a secret prison there — much to the surprise of the ex-agent's wife.

    Sen. Bill Nelson's comments on the disappearance of Robert Levinson came during Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's secretary of state confirmation hearing in Washington.

    "I haven't received any information about my husband," Levinson's wife, Christine, told The Associated Press.

    She met with government officials in Iran in December 2007, but said there was no word on her husband's fate.

    Levinson, 60, was last seen on March 8, 2007, on Kish Island, a tourist haven in the Persian Gulf, where he was doing investigative work for a private security firm. His credit cards and passport have not been used since his disappearance.

    Iran says it has "no record" of Levinson's stay on Kish and has resisted attempts by the U.S. government to investigate.

    "The door has been closed at every turn," Nelson said during Clinton's confirmation hearing. "We think he is being held by the government of Iran in a secret prison."

    Clinton said Iran could improve relations with the U.S. by offering information on Levinson.

    "With respect to the Floridian who is in prison, it would be an extraordinary opportunity for the government of Iran to make such a gesture to permit contact, to release him, to make it clear that there is a new attitude in Iran," Clinton said during the hearing.

    In November, Nelson introduced a resolution asking Iranian investigators to confer with the FBI and for the Iranian government to provide the assistance it has pledged to Levinson's family, who have kept up a campaign to locate him for nearly two years.

    The U.S. does not have formal diplomatic ties with Iran and uses the Swiss government as an intermediary. Iran has refused access to Swiss investigators seeking to visit Kish Island.

    The resolution, however, does not have the force of law and cannot impel the government to act on Levinson's behalf.

    Outside of declarations of war, Senate resolutions generally have little impact in the U.S. Nelson's resolution is mostly a symbolic gesture, intended to increase pressure on the Iranian regime to account for Levinson.

    Anyone with information is urged to contact the U.S. State Department or the Levinson family at

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Basking in Big Data

    Visualization software makes viewing and interacting with enormous data sets practical without a supercomputer.

    Data extraction: This image shows an experiment in which aerogel, a porous material, is bombarded by a micrometeroid traveling at five kilometers per second. Aerogels are commonly used to shield electronic equipment in satellites because they are both durable and extremely light. The Morse-Smale complex identifies the structure of the porous solid as the micrometeroid enters it, providing detailed information about the filament structure of the material (shown at right).
    Credit: Attila Gyulassy/UC Davis

    In some ways, science is suffering from too much data. Experiments and computer simulations analyzing everything from the dynamics of climate change to the precise details of folding proteins can churn out billions of numbers describing these physical phenomena. Making sense of all this data remains a challenge.

    Recently, however, researchers at the University of California, Davis, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced that they have developed software that makes analysis and visualization of huge data sets possible without the aid of a supercomputer. The researchers' algorithm slices up data into more manageable chunks, then stitches it back together on the fly, so that the data can be manipulated in three dimensions, all on a computer with the power and capacity of a high-end laptop.

    The team's algorithm offers a practical way to get structural information about materials, proteins, and fluids, says Attila Gyulassy, the researcher at UC Davis who led the project. It allows users to "interactively visualize, rotate, apply different transfer functions, and highlight different aspects of the data," he says.

    The software employs a mathematical tool called the Morse-Smale complex, which has been used for around 4 years to extract and visualize elements of large data sets by sorting them into segments that contain mathematically similar features. But while the Morse-Smale complex has been known for decades, it normally requires huge amounts of memory to perform the necessary calculations on a computer.

    Gyulassy and his colleagues found a solution to this memory problem by writing an algorithm that breaks apart a data set before using the Morse-Smale complex, then stitches the blocks back together again. This means that only a small amount of data is needed at each step, so much less has to be stored in memory. As a result, the software can run on a desktop computer with just two gigabytes of memory.

    Memory is one of the big limiting factors when trying to perform complex analysis of large data sets, says Peter Schröder, a professor of computer science at California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena. "You can't even fit the stuff in memory," he says. "But [the researchers] have addressed it."

    Schröder adds that, while the new software isn't the only data-visualization tool available, it looks particularly powerful and practical for a number of scientific applications. Algorithms such as this are changing science, he adds: "Things that used to be considered too abstract or too crazy to use for data analysis are turning not just into algorithms, but practical algorithms."

    Gyulassy says that his team has plans to release an open-source software library by the end of March so that other researchers can take advantage of the approach, and modify it to suit their needs.

    Secret Micro Sat Mission Fuels Space War worries

    Mitex_01 An American missile-warning satellite has died, more than 22,000 miles up. So now, the U.S. is sending a pair of mini-spacecraft on a top secret operation to investigate, Craig Covault reports for Spaceflight Now. If the mission is successful, analysts say, it'll have a global impact. Because the same technologies used to investigate a friendly, out-of-service satellite could also be used to help take out an enemy orbiter.

    In June 2006, a Delta 2 rocket launched a pair of Darpa spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit. The stated goal of the "MiTex" (Micro-satellite Technology Experiment) project was to have the 225-kilogram ships inspect each other, while twirling around the planet. Equipped with advanced thrusters, batteries and solar panels, the two tiny satellites were meant to be more maneuverable, and longer-lasting, than almost anything else in its class. For two years -- as far as we know -- the pair did their inspection pas de deux, tens of thousands of miles up.

    Then, the Defense Support Program DSP 23 missile warning satellite failed. It was a major blow because it carried "a sensor package designed to detect whether rogue nuclear powers like Iran or North Korea were conducting secret nuclear tests [from] deep space," Covault writes. "That capability [died] with the loss of DSP 23."

    But it gave the MiTex craft a new mission: find out why the 5,000-pound orbiter dropped dead.

    Imaging of the satellite could possibly show damage from a micrometeorite hit or perhaps a bent antenna. Radio data obtained up close could also perhaps detect a malfunctioning circuit or computer. And the exercise of coordinating the Mitex visits to the DSP in itself is valuable to Darpa.

    In addition the Delta 2 that launched the Mitex spacecraft from the Cape here was a unique four-stage version that used a new, solar array-equipped upper stage developed at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) near Washington, D.C. This new NRL upper stage is itself an important new military space element, that in the future could allow the delivery of small covert spacecraft to geosynchronous orbit.

    "One cannot escape the fact that this technology, while potentially extremely useful in diagnostics of sick and ailing birds, also has tremendous potential for ASAT [anti-satellite] missions. It's stealthy, highly maneuverable, potentially lethal in more ways than one -- with potential kinetic, electronic or laser-killing payloads," Theresa Hitchens, the former director of the Center for Defense Information, tells Danger Room.

    The Chinese -- who have taken American heat for their own ASAT test -- "will complain to the international community," says Greg Kulacki of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    "If this story was that China had secretly developed inspection satellites and orbited them around one of their failing satellites, what would be the reaction from the U.S.? I'm betting on hysteria," Hitchens adds. "It behooves the U.S. government to be more transparent itself if it wishes others to open up about their programs; doing this in secret only adds to the suspicions of other nations [about] U.S. intentions and provides political cover for others who may not have benign goals in mind."

    [Photo: Spaceflight Now]
    By Noah Shachtman