Originally published on Wed April 10, 2013 3:36 pm
A humble creature that has long toiled in obscurity for the benefit of humankind is poised to win a small measure of the distinction it deserves: designation as Oregon's official state microbe.
It looks to be the first microbe to gain official state recognition.
The microbe in question, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, plays a key role in the state's economy. Without it, sugar would not become alcohol, and Oregon would not have a craft beer industry worth $2.4 billion.
Baby boomers have never needed more care to ease their pain and suffering. But there simply aren't enough specialists to get the job done.
There's a shortfall of as many as 18,000 physicians focused on palliative care and hospice care. Right now, there are 5,150 hospice programs and 1,635 hospital palliative care teams in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
The Federal Aviation Administration has decided to delay the closing of 149 airport control towers until mid-June.
The Obama administration said it needed to cut funding for the towers — mostly in small communities — because of $637 million in budget cuts mandated by law.
"This additional time will allow the agency to attempt to resolve multiple legal challenges to the closure decisions," the FAA said in a statement. "Extending the transition deadline will give the FAA and airports more time to execute the changes to the National Airspace System."
Authorities are looking into the possibility that white supremacist prison gangs may have been involved in a series of shootings of public officials in Colorado and Texas. If so, criminologists say, this would be part of a larger pattern of prison gangs extending their reach.
"Increasingly, these prison gangs are spilling out onto the streets," says Mark Potok, an editor with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
Pope Francis told his staff to take "decisive action" when it comes to cases of clerical sex abuse of minors.
In a statement, the Vatican said the pontiff ordered the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to "act decisively as far as cases of sexual abuse are concerned, promoting, above all, measures to protect minors, help for those who have suffered such violence in the past (and) the necessary procedures against those who are guilty."
Industrial cities like Detroit have high levels of lead in the aging housing stock and in soils. Researchers found that the amount of soil lead in Detroit that gets suspended in the air correlated with the levels of lead in kids' blood.
Lead poisoning in kids is hardly the problem it used to be, now that we've stopped using lead in house paints and gasoline. But the lead that lingers outside and in old homes is still dangerous if kids are exposed to it.