Ku Leuven News: Electronic cigarettes offer smokers a realistic way to kick their tobacco smoking addiction. In a new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, scientists at KU Leuven report that e-cigarettes successfully reduced cravings for tobacco cigarettes, with only minimal side effects.
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) were developed as a less harmful alternative to tobacco cigarettes. They contain 100 to 1,000 times less toxic substances and emulate the experience of smoking a tobacco cigarette.
In an 8-month study, the KU Leuven researchers examined the effect of using e-cigs ("vaping") in 48 participants, all of whom were smokers with no intention to quit. The researchers' goal was to evaluate whether e-cigs decreased the urge to smoke tobacco cigarettes in the short term, and whether e-cigs helped people stop smoking altogether in the long-term. read more
Andy Coghlan, New Scientist: A genetic analysis of 409 pairs of gay twins has provided the strongest evidence yet that gay people are born gay. The study clearly links sexual orientation in men with two regions of the human genome that have been implicated before, one on the X chromosome and one on chromosome 8. The finding is an important contribution to mounting evidence that being gay is biologically determined rather than a lifestyle choice. In some countries, such as Uganda, being gay is still criminalised, and some religious groups believe that gay people can be "treated" to make them straight. "It erodes the notion that sexual orientation is a choice," says study leader Alan Sanders of the NorthShore Research Institute in Evanston, Illinois. read more
Zahra Hirji, The Olympian: More than 40 percent of frac sand producers in Wisconsin have broken state environmental rules in recent years, according to a new report. This isn't the case of a "few bad apples" disregarding the law, said Bobby King, an organizer who contributed to the report by the Land Stewardship Project, an advocacy group. "It's an industry that's willing to routinely violate rules that are designed to protect communities, protect air quality, protect water quality," he said. Wisconsin is the nation's top producer of silica sand, a key ingredient used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The state is home to 135 active mines, processing and transport facilities. That's up from only seven facilities in 2010. read more
Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times: Four men flew from Istanbul through Paris to Mexico City in late August, where they were met by a Turkish-speaking man who stashed them in a safe house until their Sept. 3 attempt to cross into the U.S. over the border with Mexico.
Their capture by the Border Patrol in Texas set off a fierce debate over the men's intentions, with some members of Congress saying they were terrorist fighters. Homeland Security officials, including Secretary Jeh Johnson, countered that they were part of the Kurdish resistance which, like the U.S., is fighting the Islamic State's advance in Iraq.
But whether the men are linked to anti-U.S. jihadists or not, they admitted to being part of a U.S.-designated terrorist group, and their ability to get into the U.S. through the southern border -- they paid $8,000 each to be smuggled into Texas -- details the existence of a network capable of bringing terrorists across the border. read more
WWII vet returns to the town he fought in to find that he's become a local legend. read more