Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Town Creates Their Own Currency

Slow economic times are not good for moral. Lewes, a small historic town in South East England, decided to combat the economic downturn by developing their own currency to be used within the town. Over 70 local businesses have agreed to accept the Lewes Pound, the equivalent of a pound sterling, as payment for goods and services. The Lewes Pound works as a voucher and over 10,000 have been printed.  Organizers wanted to boost community pride while boosting the community's economy by encouraging people to buy locally.  

No word yet on whether the initiative is working, but the idea is novel if not rebellious. Cheerful Scoop salutes such moxie. 

(Originally reported by the BBC. Special thanks to Ann Marie for sending this news item to Cheerful Scoop.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blood Drives - A Thing of the Past?

Blood shortages and drives may a thing of the past if the technology developed by Advanced Cell Technology proves to be commercially viable. The research company, based in Worcester, Massachusetts, announced they have found a way to produce synthetic human blood. By using embryonic  stem cells, the company has discovered a process that could be used to make unlimited amounts of blood. 

The technology has to be tested, but if the process stands up to scrutiny doctors won't have to worry about blood types or pathogens being transmitted when they give transfusions. Researchers have tried to create synthetic blood in the past, but haven't succeeded. Critics worry that Advanced Cell Technology's announcement is premature, but the company has produced useful discoveries, although none have been commercially feasible.   

(Originally reported by Wired.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Intel Develops Faster, Eco-Friendly Chips

Using your computer just got a little better today - Intel announced the launch of four new server chips. The chips are the fastest among Intel's growing family. They are also more environmentally friendly. Intel's chips had contained halogen, which is a rather toxic fire retardant. Intel wants to move away from halogen packaging because it is difficult to recycle and release toxins if incinerated. 

Among the family of chips, the Xeon X5270 has a clock frequency of 3.5 gigahertz, making it the fastest among Intel's "Core" chips. Raising the clock frequency posses a technical challenge, yet Intel has done it again with the Xeon family of chips, while also managing to be environmentally responsible.  

(Originally reported by

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Australia Elects First Female Governor General

On Friday Australia swore in its first female governor general, Quentin Bryce. The governor general is Queen Elizabeth's representative in the country. Bryce's appointment is significant because she is the first women to hold the position. She may also be the last person in the role as Australians hope to become a republic and have an Australian as head of state. Nevertheless, Bryce's appointment is a milestone for women in politics. 

(Originally reported by the BBC.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Measles Vaccine No Longer Linked to Autism

Parents of small children have one less thing to worry about today; a recent study found no link between the measles vaccine and autism. The study was conducted at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Based on the study's findings, researchers agree there is no relationship between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism. However, other researchers are quick to point out the study only clears the concern surrounding the MMR vaccine and other vaccines still need to be tested extensively.  

Even though the scientific community has not cleared all vaccines, it is at least safe for parents to vaccinate their children for measles, which has killed 400 to 500 people annually before the vaccine was introduced in 1963. 

(Originally reported by U.S. News and World Report.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Don't Forget to Exercise

If you don't enjoy exercise the following post may not be good news; if you do enjoy a good sweat read on. Exercise may improve memory. Scientists at the University of Melbourne found that adults with mild memory problems may experience memory improvement by exercising. The scientists focused on a group of 138 volunteers over the age of 50. The people who participated in home-based exercise demonstrated modest cognitive improvement. The study suggests physical activity may delay or offset mental decline. 
(Originally reported by the BBC.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Homelessness Rates Down

For the first time in 30 years homelessness is declining in the Unites States. Between 2005 and 2008 the number of overall homeless people has fallen by 12 percent. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the overall number of homeless comes to approximately 672,000. 

This major accomplishment has to do with more government programs that offer homeless people long-term housing, opposed to spots in homeless shelters, half-way homes, and jails. In additional to long-term housing, case workers are able to provide more in-depth services, like drug counseling. These programs are called "housing first" programs and have been proven effective nationwide. 

(Originally reported by the Christian Science Monitor.)