May 31, 2013

    Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

First National Marijuana Brand is Near

Ex-Microsoft exec leading the charge

Former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively has announced his plan to create the first national marijuana brand. Shively, who has already begun acquiring multiple medical marijuana dispensaries in three states, said he envisions his brand becoming the leader in both recreational and medical cannabis, much like Starbucks.

Shively, 45, said he is already soliciting investors for $10 million in start-up money and plans to import the product legally from Mexico. While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, it is legal in two states, Washington and Colorado, and 18 more allow it for medical purposes. "It's a giant market in search of a brand," Shively said. "We would be happy if we get 40 percent of it worldwide."

So far, many are skeptical of Shively's plan, arguing that the federal ban on the substance will be too great a barrier. "It's very hard for me to understand why anybody seriously interested in being in the marijuana business, which after all is against the federal law, would so publicly announce his conspiracy to break that law," said Washington state marijuana consultant Mark Kleiman.

Shively said he ultimately envisions separate brands for recreational and medical use, and plans to fund studies of cannabis’s effects on cancer and other illnesses.

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Bradley Wiggins riding to Olympic gold.    

Bradley Wiggins Out of Tour

Won't compete due to knee injury

Reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins will not defend his title this year due to a lingering injury, his team said on Friday.

Wiggins, 33, has been battling inflammation in his knee for weeks, and has been unable to return to his regular training regimen. Earlier this season, he dropped out of the Giro d'Italia after contracting a chest infection.

"He hasn't been able to train hard since the Giro and now he needs further rest," said Dave Brailsford, Team Sky's principal. "Whilst we all know these things happen in sport, it doesn't take away from the fact that this is a huge disappointment for everyone in the team—and above all for Brad."

The British cyclist and three-time Olympic gold medalist was already set to ride support to Chris Froome rather than attempt to win the Tour himself, but he would have had a chance at taking the lead as Sky's backup leader.

Wiggins is the first reigning champion to miss the Tour de France since 1987, when Greg LeMond sat it out after suffering a near-fatal hunting accident.

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    Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Amelia Earhart’s Plane Maybe Found (Again)

TIGHAR points to sonar

Almost 80 years after disappearing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, the remains of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Model 10 Electra remain elusive. But the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has not stopped searching for over 20 years, and they, once again, are announcing a new lead.

In a sonar image of the ocean floor taken near the remote Pacific island of Nikumaroro, there is an anomaly that, according to TIGHAR, is a good fit for the size and shape of Earhart’s plane. It’s also in an area the group had earlier identified as being the most likely location of the wreck.

But TIGHAR has had its fair share of false leads, and the group acknowledges that the anomaly could just be a coral feature or a sunken fishing boat. They will continue analyzing the image, and once they’ve raised enough money, they will return to Nikumaroro to verify the find.

More on TIGHAR's relentless search for Earhart.

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STUDY: 12 Minutes of Exercise Is All You Need

Instead of 150 minutes of effort

Just three four-minute bursts of high-intensity exercise per week is enough to increase fitness and decrease blood pressure and glucose readings, according to researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Current health guidelines suggest that 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per week are the minimum to stay healthy and fit.

In the study, overweight but otherwise healthy volunteers ran at 90 percent of their max heart rate for four-minutes three times a week for 10 weeks. At the end of the study, their body's oxygen uptake—a strong indicator of fitness—increased by 10 percent.

The report says that people can incorporate the findings into daily life by walking quickly up ten flights of stairs or marching up a hill with an eight to 10 percent gradient. But some doctors caution elderly or unfit patients should begin exercising at a more moderate pace to avoid complications.

"Short episodes of very intense exercise can raise one's risk for a stroke or heart attack or fatal arrhythmia during or right after the burst of exertion," Thomas Lee, M.D., Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School told The Telegraph. "I think this approach, which used to be known as 'intervals', is very reasonable and accepted among young athletes ... I don't encourage it among most of my older patients."

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Keep Your Eyes on the Sky Tonight

Huge asteroid to make close pass

Get out your telescope, a massive asteroid will be passing by Earth on Friday, as close as it will get for the next two centuries. 

The asteroid, known as QE2, is 1.7 miles across—nine cruise ships in length—and has its own moon. But rest easy: it will be passing at a comfortable distance of 3.6 million miles, so there’s no chance of collision.

With a telescope of at least four to six inches in mirror size, you should be able to view it from now through the first week of June, in the southern skies. If you want the best view, Space.com will be hosting a livestream of the asteroid’s passage at 4:30 EST tonight.

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