Saturday, January 30, 2010

Get Ready for the iPad Fad

By: Arene, Contributor

Referred to as a cross a between a MacBook (multi-touch screen laptop that premiered in 2006) and an iPhone (all-in-one phone, iPod and Internet device that premiered in 2007) in its capabilities, the iPad represents the newest advancement in technology as of January 27, 2010 when it was introduced by Apple's CEO Steve Jobs. Similar to an iPod Touch in appearance, the iPad is a multi-touch screen tablet computer that weighs 1.5 pounds and measures 9.7 inches in length and .5 inches in thickness. Its unique features include a fast processor, up to 64 GB of flash storage, 10 hours of battery life and one month of idle or "stand by" battery charge. Like an iPhone, the iPad has the applications of web-browsing, email usage, photo viewing, music downloading and playing, video watching and text entering with a virtual keyboard.

The main advantages that the iPad has over the iPhone include its increased storage options and its larger screen that enables more readable text for its note taking application; whereas an iPhone has limited storage and its screen is too small to type anything more than a text message. The disadvantages of the iPad in contrast to the iPhone are its lack of a camera and its inability to connect to cellular networks to allow phone calls or text messages. In comparison to the MacBook, the iPad supports Apple's iWork Suite that features spreadsheets and presentation software. IPad's advantage over the MacBook is being easier to transport due to its smaller size. Yet a drawback of the iPad is its lack of a built-in USB port. For that reason, an iPad customer must purchase an iPad Camera Connection Kit separately to import photos from digital cameras or to sync from computers. Photos may also be downloaded from emails.

What's the iPad got that boomers and seniors might like?

Laurie Orlov, in her Aging in Place Technology Watch blog says - Accessibility features -- "Support for playback of closed-captioned content, VoiceOver screen reader, Full-screen zoom magnification, and mono audio, which combines the sound of the left and right channels into a mono signal played on both sides. This enables users with hearing impairment in one ear to hear the entire sound signal with the other ear."

The new iPad targets college students, business professionals, travelers or anyone who is technologically savvy. In addition to its similarity to MacBooks, iPods and iPhones, the iPad also shares characteristics to that of kindles (for downloading books), in-store photo kiosks, self-checkout machines (with touch-screens), and pocket PC audit machines used by Data Collectors. Customers now have the option of preordering either the iPad with Wi-Fi that will be available at the end of March or the iPad with Wi-Fi and 3G that will be available at the end of April through the Apple Online Store, the Amazon website or electronic stores carrying Apple products. The Apple Online Store iPad prices range from $499 for a 16 GB iPad to $699 for a 64 GB iPad.

"Write a wise saying and your name will live forever." - Anonymous

Friday, January 29, 2010

Casper the Commuting Cat: RIP

by Bonnie Alter, London

Some people say that the British treat their animals better than people. Apparently one out of every two families in the country has an animal. Maybe that's why Casper the commuting cat has been tugging at the heartstrings of the nation over the past week.

Casper was a 12 year old cat in Plymouth who has been catching the bus every day for 4 years. He would wait patiently at the door, curl up on the back seat and sleep for the round-trip ride of 11 miles. Then the bus driver would let him off back at his stop. Sadly, he was killed in a hit and run accident last week... read the full story at

Caring for Caregivers

from a whitehouse blog by Obama Chronicles
January 28, 2010

This week the Middle Class Task Force unveiled a series of initiatives in the President's FY 11 budget that are aimed at helping families with soaring child care costs, balancing work with caring for elderly relatives or people with disabilities, paying for college, and saving for retirement. These are costs that – along with health care – have risen dramatically for families at a time when their incomes haven't. Some people call this "squeeze" because of the pressure these costs put on family budgets. But for many families it just seems like it is impossible to get ahead.

This is particularly true for the so-called "sandwich generation" – people who are caring for children (or grandchildren or adult children who are struggling financially) and their parents. The Vice President often speaks very personally about his experience caring for his parents and in-laws. And almost all of us know someone who has juggled caring for a parent or relative who can’t get along completely on their own. Millions of Americans provide unpaid care to aging relatives – including approximately 23 million caregivers with jobs and 12 million who are also caring for their own children. That's why the Middle Class Task Force’s "squeeze" initiative includes help for family caregivers.

These caregivers play a vital role in helping seniors stay in their communities or at home. But too often they don’t have the support they need to balance caregiving with work and family responsibilities. As Elinor Ginzler of AARP put it:

"AARP is grateful that the Middle Class Task Force has drawn attention to an issue that is deeply important to our members—the critical role of family caregivers and what we should be doing to help them. Approximately 65 million Americans provide care to a loved one, giving more than $375 billion worth of unpaid care each year—often at their own financial and emotional expense. Increasing support to these invaluable individuals would be an important step to help those who do so much to help others." more at Obama Chronicles

Thursday, January 28, 2010

2009 the year of the decade for organ donation in Ontario

Organ donation a delicate, desperate relay race Ontario hospitals won nearly 700 times last year - thanks to an eight-year legacy of hard work.

TORONTO, January 26, 2010 /CanadaNewsWire/ - Last year, nearly 700 lives were saved because of a record number of organ donations.

"2009 was a record-breaking year," says Frank Markel, President and CEO of the Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN). "It was the culmination of sound planning, many years of solid progress through hard work, and the generous support of the provincial government."

In the two short years since the Organ Donation Strategy was announced by Premier Dalton McGuinty, TGLN has implemented many of the strategy's recommendations, including improvements to donor registration, launch of multi-faith and youth outreach campaigns, and implementation of clinical best practices to drive donation performance and changes to consent to tissue donation. And that unified effort has paid off in spades.

"Not only did Ontario achieve a record 218 organ donations, but we have decreased the number of deaths of people on the organ transplant wait list by nearly 24 per cent," says Markel.

"The gifts given by those 218 generous deceased organ donors and their families allowed TGLN to coordinate a total of 691 life-saving organ transplants over the course of the year, a 17 per cent increase over 2008," he adds.

The number of tissue donations over the past 12 months was unprecedented, with 1,299 tissue donors in 2009, a rise of 24 per cent from the previous year. Tissue donors provided bone grafts, heart valves, and skin for life-enhancing transplants, as well as 1,616 eyes for transplants to restore vision. Just one tissue donor can help up to 75 people through tissue donation.

"The work of the Trillium Gift of Life Network and everyone involved in organ and tissue donation in Ontario is making unbelievable differences in the lives of Ontarians and their families," says Deb Matthews, Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "Thank you all for your hard work and continued dedication to such an important cause."

Markel also credits TGLN's multiple partners for the success of 2009. "The remarkable increase in the number of organ and tissue donations for transplant is only possible through dedicated cooperation from tissue banks and our healthcare partners, both at the 21 major donation hospitals and the transplant centres within the province," he says.

"Between 1999 and 2008, the average annual increase in deceased donors in Ontario nearly doubled that in the rest of the country," states Dr. John Gill, President of the Canadian Organ Replacement Register Board of Directors. "The 2009 numbers further demonstrate what can be achieved in Canada, and should be a model to drive improvement in deceased organ donation nationally."

"Success in organ and tissue donation takes an incredible team effort, and at Sunnybrook we are fortunate to have staff, physicians and leaders throughout the organization who are committed to this life-saving cause," says Dr. Barry McLellan, President and CEO, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, which lead hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area in performance improvements. "As well as our own staff, we are thankful for the partnership we have with the Trillium Gift of Life Network. Our continued collaboration and dedication to this program will save and improve countless lives across Ontario."

"I am thankful for the generosity of our donor families at a time of great distress and grateful for the support, focus and compassion of our partners," says Rabbi Reuven Bulka, of Ottawa, the Board Chair of TGLN. "And the Government of Ontario has been a tremendous ally. The astonishing success we've built to in the last decade could not have been possible without all of this assistance."

Despite the banner year and positive steps forward, more still needs to be done. Today, approximately 1,600 people in Ontario are waiting for a life-saving transplant. More lives could be saved if more people registered their decision to donate.

As of June 30, 2009, 17 per cent of eligible Ontarians over the age of 16 had registered their donation consent decision, a five per cent increase since November 30, 2008.

You can register your consent to donate your organs and tissue by visiting your local ServiceOntario Health Card Services - OHIP office or outreach centre where you renew your health card. You can also register by downloading and filling out a Gift of Life Consent Form from and mailing it to the address on the form.

Even if you've already signed your donor card, please also register your decision so that this information is accessible at the time of your death and talk to your family about your decision.

For more details on Trillium Gift of Life Network, please visit You can also call 416-363-4001 or toll free 1-800-263-2833.

Trillium Gift of Life Network is a not-for-profit agency of the Government of Ontario and is responsible for planning, promoting, coordinating and supporting organ and tissue donation across Ontario and improving the system so that more lives can be saved.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The 11 Green Milestones in Barack Obama's First Year as President

Photo via Ibew191

by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York

Obama entered the oval office upon a pedestal of impossible expectations--one he helped built himself during the 2008 campaign. Now, many Americans have predictably soured, as promises made on the campaign trail remain largely unkept.

Where's the comprehensive health care reform? The abolition of Don't Ask Don't Tell? The closed Guantanamo? All those green jobs?

The bitterness is sharper because so many were counting on Obama to be so much more than a typical politician. But it's also worth remembering that he's accomplished a lot, too.

As the first year of his term to a close, here are the 11 highlights--and lowlights--of Obama's progress on green issues thus far. ... Read the full story on TreeHugger

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Collection of African and Tribal Art Donated to Art Gallery of Hamilton

Noted Canadian Philanthropists and Art Collectors Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Donate Significant Collection of African and Tribal Art to Art Gallery of Hamilton

HAMILTON, ON, January 14, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Over 100 works of art from Joey and Toby Tanenbaum's collection of African and tribal art will find a home at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The works bring together ritualistic and functional everyday objects, including masks, sculptures, containers, and architectural elements. Primarily from east, central, and west Africa, the majority of artworks date from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries, and are crafted from such materials as wood, terracotta, bronze, shell, bone, feathers, fibres, textiles, and other organic materials. The collection also contains artworks from Oceania.

"Without art, society would have no soul. Art fulfills so much within us, in our hearts," said Joey Tanenbaum. "We're very exciting about this gift we're giving to Hamilton."

"This multi-million dollar donation of African and tribal art will truly transform our collection and our activities," said AGH President and CEO Louise Dompierre. "The Art Gallery of Hamilton is honoured and touched by the Tanenbaums' confidence and trust in our institution for giving us the opportunity - yet again - to enrich our programming with such a magnificent gift."

In 2002, Joey and Toby Tanenbaum gifted the AGH with their extensive collection of nineteenth-century European art.

"In addition to appreciating these masterworks from Africa and Oceania on purely aesthetic grounds, these magnificent artworks also help us understand how similar objects inspired artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Brancusi, to name a few," added Dompierre.

A selection of the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum collection of African and tribal art will be on display at the Gallery from May 22nd to September 6, 2010, as part of Vital Africa, the Art Gallery of Hamilton's year-long celebration of African arts and culture and its influence on the world. Presented by TD, the celebration includes exhibitions, performances, talks, film screenings, and activities for families and children.

Founded in 1914, the Art Gallery of Hamilton owns one of the finest collections in Canada. Its collection strengths include European historical, Canadian historical, contemporary - and now - African art.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Boomers find creative ways to spend increasing down time

from the Newark Advocate
Advocate Reporter
January 10, 2010

To date, Shirley Braunbeck, 63, has tracked roughly 8,500 people in the family tree belonging to her and her husband.

She took up genealogy research as a hobby around 15 years ago, said Braunbeck, of Newark, and has since discovered several things -- including a family member also researching the family tree, whom she learned lives in Heath.

"My kids don't care about it now ... but I think some day they're going to wonder what their grandparents and great-grandparents were like," Braunbeck said. "I think it's important to keep their memory alive."

As the baby boomer population ages -- some entering retirement, some continuing to work -- its members are seeking out different methods of spending their down time, ranging from the active to the nostalgic... read more at the Newark Advocate

"If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much." - Donald H. Rumsfeld

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More and More Boomers are Turning to Yoga

written by Angelena Craig

Boomers, more than ever before are taking up Yoga. They realize it is one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to address the body/mind connection. They find that by attending a yoga class, even if only once a week, this complete system of self improvement keeps them flexible, relaxed and with a more positive attitude.

According to the much respected magazine, Yoga Journal, the statistics in the United States reveal that:

...6.9% of U.S. adults, or 15.8 million people, practice some form of yoga

...Of current non-practitioners, nearly 8%, or 18.3 million Americans, say they are very or extremely interested in yoga, triple the number from the 2004 study. And 4.1% of non-practitioners, or about 9.4 million people, say they will definitely try yoga within the next year.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Overweight Boomer Men at Higher Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke, Premature Death

from The Senior Journal
January 5, 2010

The results were not surprising, according to an American Heart Association spokesperson.

“We’ve known for years that obesity worsens or exacerbates many risk factors,” said Barry Franklin, Ph.D, chair of the American Heart Association’s council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism.

“What was interesting about this study was that the findings differed from previous studies – which involve much shorter follow up – that suggested that obese people without metabolic syndrome were not at risk. This study really contradicts that and I believe it’s in large part related to longer follow up.”

Franklin said the role of fitness in reducing cardiovascular disease was not discussed in this study. As New Year’s resolutions approach he urged patients to recognize that even a five to pound weight loss can make a significant health benefit.

It would have been interesting to see how exercise fits into this equation. Earlier studies appear to support exercise can counter some of these adverse health effects.

WWF's Top 10 Endangered Species to Watch in 2010


In case you weren't aware, 2010 has been declared by the United Nations as the Year of Biodiversity. Let's face it, considering the staggering rates of extinction now taking place around the world due to habitat loss, poaching, and other human activity--not to mention the havoc climate change could cause in the future--it's high time we start taking biodiversity loss seriously. In that vein, and because it's frankly their modus operandi, Read the full story on TreeHugger