Friday, October 31, 2008

The Beatles Make it To the 21st Century

The Beatles are notorious for keeping a tight grip on their musical catalogue. They with held from being on iTunes and rarely sell the rights to their songs. This changed when the remaining members of the band worked with MTV Games and Harmonix to create a video game. The untitled game will released next year. 

Fans everywhere will be able to rock out to the Beatles, while playing a game they helped develop. This means the band's legacy will continue, which is lucky for us.   

Originally reported by the BBC

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gas Prices Hit Three-Year Low

For 42 days gas prices have fallen, according to a nationwide survey of credit card swipes at gasoline stations. This is a 37 percent decline from the highest price, $4.114, set on July 17th. Today the average cost of a gallon of gas is $2.589 a gallon.

Despite the lower prices, gas consumption is down, which may have to do with the economy and lack of consumer confidence. Compared to last year, Americans are driving 5.6 percent less, said the U.S. Department of Energy.

So not only is gas cheaper, but people are consuming less. This is win-win news for Wednesday.

Originally reported by CNNMoney.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Second Best Day Ever for the Dow

The markets have been plummeting for some time now, but today the Dow rose 906 points, making today the second-biggest one-day gain in history. The big rally created an 11 percent gain. Likewise, the Standard & Poor 500 gained 91.6 points, amounting to its second-biggest one-day point gain as well. The NASDAQ followed suite and gained 143.6 points, or 9.5 percent. 

Despite these gains, October may remain one of the worst months in Wall Street's history. However, these surges offer hope to investors who haven't seen positive action since the summer. Even if the markets take much longer to pull out of the recession, marking the good days promotes optimism - something we need right now.   

Monday, October 27, 2008

More New Homes Sold

The economy is on everyones' minds, as is the housing market, which appears to be rebounding. Sales of newly constructed homes were up in September. According to the US Census Bureau, the sales rate for new homes rose 2.7 percent from August's rate. The annuzliazed rate for September, 464,000, was above consensus forecast of 450,000, according to economists surveyed by

New homes sales are still down compared to last September, however real estate agents are seeing pick-up in housing markets were prices fell. Economists and real estate agents agree that new home sales will remain low, but the numbers are getting slightly better. This news from the Census Bureau is a glimmer of hope.

Originally reported by CNNMoney.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Penguin Release in South America

Due to changing ocean currents a large number of penguins ended up in Brazil, where it's too hot for them to survive. Knowing this, the government and volunteers rounded up the penguins and released them into cooler waters. Check it out on YouTube: 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Drug May Help MS

Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating disease, but there's hope for those who have suffered brain damage from the illness.  Alemtuzumab, a drug originally developed to treat leukaemia, may stop the progression of the MS and even enable the body's ability to repair previous brain damage. The drug helps patients with early stage active relapsing-remitting MS, which is the most common form of the disease. 

Researchers at the University of Cambridge stress that more research needs to be done and their results are not conclusive. However, the drug cut the number of attacks from the conduction by 74 percent among the 334 patients with early stage active relapsing-remitting MS who participated in one clinical trial. People in the trials also regain functions thought lost after taking the drug. 

Originally reported by the BBC.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wal-Mart Set Standards for Chinese Suppliers

Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, is making an effort to protect its customers. The company plans to set new quality standards for its China-based suppliers. The standards come after a string of toxic products, including milk that has sickened tens of thousands people in China. 

Wal-Mart will require its Chinese suppliers to reveal what factories made a product, as well as what factories produced ingredients or components for an end product. The company will use the news standards with apparel first then apply the standards to other goods. 

Likewise, the United Nations released a report that recommends China increase the government's oversight of the food production system and hold offending companies responsible.

Although Wal-Mart isn't known for its humanitarian efforts, this news is comfortingly and casts the company in a better light. 

Originally reported by the Associated Press

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

eBay to Ban Ivory Sales

Elephants have a reason to rejoice. eBay, the online auction powerhouse, announced it would ban ivory commerce. The announcement coincides with the release of a report by the International Fund for Animal Welfare that documents how online auction sites have facilitated the sale of products derived from endangered species. According to the report, the majority of online auction sales of endangered species products were conducted on eBay. Most of the auctioned items were elephant products. 

Feeling pressure from international law enforcement agencies and conservation groups, eBay decided to enact the ban on ivory trade, which will go into effect January 1, 2009.  The ban may take some time to go into effect, especially considering endangered species products drew sales values of $457,000 during the six week period in which the International Fund for Animal Welfare conducted its research. 

Despite the report's dire outlook on products made from endangered species, it's encouraging that eBay would take the group's findings seriously and enact a solution. Many corperations aren't willing to make policies based on what's the right thing to do. 

Originally reported by the New York Times

Monday, October 20, 2008

Technology Bringing Families Together

Technology is often blamed for our social woes; however technologies like cell phones, the Internet, social networking sites, and email are bringing families closer together, according to the Pew Institute

Based on a survey of 2,252 Americans, Pew found that 51 percent of families use the Internet as a social activity and browse sites together. Likewise, families use cell phones to touch base with one another - 42 percent of parents used cell phones to speak with their children daily. When asked about the role technology within their family, 47 percent of respondents felt technology increased the quality of contact with family members they lived with and 53 percent felt quality of contact was increased with distant family members. 

People have long speculate that technology isolates us and drives a divided between family members, yet the study shows people use technology to increased social connections. 

Originally reported by the BBC.  

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bee Gees Hit Could Save Lives

"Stayin' Alive," the 1977 hit by the Bee Gees, has taken on a literal meaning; researchers have found the song could save your life. 

US medics discovered the song has an exemplary beat to follow when performing CPR on a cardiac arrest victim. The song contains 103 beats per minute, which is ideal considering the recommended rate for chest compressions is 100 per minute. 

During the study researchers asked participants to perform CPR on mannequins while listening to "Stayin' Alive." When they followed the song's beat the participants performed an average of 109 chest compressions per minute. Five weeks later the participants were asked back to perform CPR again but this time they were asked to think of the song. In this instance participants performed an average of 113 chest compression per minute. This is more than the recommended number suggested by the American Heart Association, but it's better than performing too few compressions. The song also encourage participants to keep up the compression rate - perhaps the most important factor when performing CPR. 

It's possible this information will save lives and promote a resurgence of the song, driving album sales for the Bee Gees.  Can you imagine someone humming "Stayin' Alive" while performing CPR - kinda awesome. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Runners May Age Slower

Despite our differences we do have at least one thing in common; our desire to age slower and remain active as we age. A new study found that runners live active lives longer and are half as likely to die early compared to non-runners. 

Dr. James Fries and his team of researchers followed 500 runners who were over the age of 50 for 20 years. During this period 34 percent of non-runners in a similar group died compared to 19 percent of runners. The researchers also found that the appearance of disabilities came, on average, 16 years later for those who ran. The runner group also exhibited fewer early deaths from cancer, neurological disease, and infections. They also prolonged the onset of cardiovascular diseases.   

The take away: It's possible to live longer and live well if you're willing to put in some miles and invest in sneakers. 

Back in Business

Dear Cheerful Scoop readers,

I am delighted to write this post. It has been a little over a month since I could update because our friends at Blogger flagged Cheerful Scoop as a spam blog. They have reviewed the blog and cleared it of any spamming. I don't want to be negative about this annoying situation because that goes against the nature of my blog. The important thing is that the blog is back and if you have good news you wish to share let me know.