By: Mike Barnes of Hollywood Reporter
By: Adam Forest of Independent
Doctors in the US state of Minnesota implanted a remote-controlled electrode in the patient’s back to stimulate surviving nerves in his spinal cord.
Thanks to the groundbreaking surgery, Jered Chinnock, from Tomah, Wisconsin, was able to stand up and walk just over 100 metres – the length of an American football – while pushing a front-wheeled walker.
It was the first time Mr Chinnock had walked by himself since his accident on the slopes five years ago.
“It’s very exciting, but still very early in the research stage,” said neurosurgeon Dr Kendall Lee, who co-led the team from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
“The reason why this is important is because the patient’s own mind, thought, was able to drive movement in his legs. Just as important is that we were able to get him to stand independently and take his own steps.”
Mr Chinnock said: “The walking side of it isn’t something where I just leave my wheelchair behind and away I go.”
But the Wisconsin man said he was hopeful that he might one day be able to “leave the wheelchair behind, even if it is to walk to the refrigerator.”
Dr Lee explained that as soon as the remote-controlled electrode was turned off, Mr Chinnock became paralysed again.
The innovative technique used by the Mayo Clinic team, which was reported in the journal Nature Medicine, involved inserting an electrode in the epidural space – the fat-filled hollow region surrounding the spinal cord.
Compliments of ABC
A 92-year-old woman from South Carolina proves you are never too old to reach your goals.
Annie Dillard is donning her cap and gown, ready to graduate from Midlands Technical College with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts.
Dillard is a widow, a mother of one, and the owner of her own hair salon.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in the 1960s.
Then, five years ago, she started searching for something more, and decided to enroll at Midlands Tech.
“My advice is you can make it if you try, but you have to start somewhere,” Dillard said.
By: The Washington Post
In a historic groundswell of youth activism, hundreds of thousands of teenagers and their supporters rallied across the United States against gun violence Saturday, vowing to transform fear and grief into a “vote-them-out” movement and tougher laws against weapons.
They took to the streets of Washington and cities across the country, including New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles, California. The numbers were like those seen in protests during the Vietnam era, about 50 years ago.
They were called to action by a brand-new corps of leaders: student survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead February 14.
“If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking,” Parkland survivor David Hogg said to roars from the protesters packing Pennsylvania Avenue from the stage near the Capitol many blocks toward the White House. “We’re going to take this to every election, to every state and every city. We’re going to make sure the best people get in our elections to run, not as politicians but as Americans.
“Because this,” he said, pointing behind him to the Capitol dome, “this is not cutting it.”
Some of the young voices were very young.
Yolanda Renee King, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s 9-year-old granddaughter, drew from the civil rights leader’s most famous words in declaring from the stage: “I have a dream that enough is enough. That this should be a gun-free world. Period.”
By all appearances — there were no official numbers — Washington’s March for Our Lives rally was as big as the women’s march last year that drew far more than the predicted 300,000.
The National Rifle Association went silent on Twitter as the protests unfolded, in contrast to its reaction to the nationwide school walkouts against gun violence March 14, when it tweeted a photo of an assault rifle and the message “I’ll control my own guns, thank you.”
By: Chris Baynes of The Independent
A council has been criticised as “inhumane” after installing metal bars on benches to stop homeless people sleeping on them.
Bournemouth Borough Council has adapted seats across the town centre to deter rough sleepers.
The Conservative authority said it installed the bars “following numerous complaints by members of the public and local traders” about people lying on the benches.
But charities condemned the “hostile” move and called for the local authority to focus on helping homeless people.
Photos of the benches have also provoked anger on social media, with Facebook users branding the council ”shameful” and “heartless”.
The council’s strategy first came to wider attention after Bournemouth artist Stuart Semple posted a picture of one of the benches on Facebook. He said between 20 and 30 seats had been “retrofitted”.
“The second I saw it I knew exactly what it meant and I was really shocked and quite angry to see it in my home town,” Mr Semple told The Independent.
He added: “This kind of hostile design is really wrong. Most people will just take these things for granted and walk past them but for a homeless person I think it would be deeply upsetting to see something like that.
“I really don’t think we should be making those kind of statements in our towns and cities, we should be making inclusive places. Everybody is welcome.”
The founder of a charity which hands out food to Bournemouth’s homeless said the measure was “an utter waste of taxpayers’ money.”
Claire Matthews, whose organisation Hope For Food runs a soup kitchen in the seaside resort four nights a week, told The Independent: “All it is doing is putting a sticking plaster over the wound. If [the council] stop and think and look at what they are doing and help the homeless off the streets, they would not need all this.
“Why can’t they actually put the money into helping the homeless?”
By: Jon Murray of Denver Post
Jeffrey Maes didn’t expect to live on the streets in his 50s. He had started several businesses, but he says the last one, a remodeling company, went south just as he was stretched thin on four properties.
He lost them all, he said, and ended up without a home — along with the realization that he was considered unemployable. But last year, he heard about a Denver-sponsored day-labor program that had helped friends get back on their feet.
After nearly four years of homelessness, Maes gave it a shot.
And on Tuesday, he spoke about how the Denver Day Works program has helped restore his pride — and helped him find a full-time job retrofitting lights at the city’s Central Library — as city officials announced the expansion of the program in the coming year. During a news conference at the library, Mayor Michael Hancock and others said the first-year numbers exceeded most of their goals.
In the first year after the program’s launch in November 2016, Denver Human Services says 284 people worked at least a day — with all but 10 sticking around longer — performing landscaping duties in parks, helping out at the Denver Elections Division, aiding public-works crews and other job assignments.
Of those participants, Maes was among 110 who found full-time work, with 15 landing permanent or project-based city jobs and the rest finding work with dozens of outside private and public employers.
“When you take a good person (who’s) down, broken, discouraged, and you give them an opportunity to be proud of their self — to stand up and do something for their self — that’s one of the greatest gifts anybody can give to anybody,” said Maes, 57. “And for that, I’d like to say thank you.”
Denver Day Works, run by contractor Bayaud Enterprises, has organized work crews three days a week. Next month, it will add a fourth day, with a fifth shift planned later in the year.
By: AJ Willingham of CNN
One of the most moving moments from the Women’s Marches that took over the country this weekend came when 23-year-old singer Halsey delivered a free-verse poem to a New York City crowd recounting her experiences with assault and feelings of powerlessness.
Her poem closed with strong words of hope and encouragement that triggered an outpouring of support and gratitude from around the world.
In her nearly five-minute performance, titled “A Story Like Mine,” the Grammy-nominated singer recalled several moments when her life was changed by assault or abuse. The full transcript of the poem is below.
It’s 2009 and I’m 14 and I’m crying
Not really sure where I am but I’m holding the hand of my best friend Sam
In the waiting room of a Planned Parenthood
The air is sterile and clean, and the walls are that not gray, but green
And the lights are so bright they could burn a hole through the seam of my jeans
My phone is buzzing in the pocket
My mom is asking me if I remembered my keys ’cause she’s closing the door and she needs to lock it
But I can’t tell my mom where I’ve gone
I can’t tell anyone at all
You see, my best friend Sam was raped by a man that we knew ’cause he worked in the after-school program
And he held her down with her textbook beside her
And he covered her mouth and he came inside her
So now I’m with Sam, at the place with a plan, waiting for the results of a medical exam
And she’s praying she doesn’t need an abortion, she couldn’t afford it
And her parents would, like, totally kill her
It’s 2002 and my family just moved and the only people I know are my mom’s friends, too, and her son
He’s got a case of Matchbox cars and he says that he’ll teach me to play the guitar if I just keep quiet
And the stairwell beside apartment 1245 will haunt me in my sleep for as long as I am alive
And I’m too young to know why it aches in my thighs, but I must lie, I must lie
It’s 2012 and I’m dating a guy and I sleep in his bed and I just learned how to drive
And he’s older than me and he drinks whiskey neat and he’s paying for everything
This adult thing is not cheap
We’ve been fighting a lot, almost 10 times a week
And he wants to have sex, and I just want to sleep
He says I can’t say no to him
This much I owe to him
He buys my dinner, so I have to blow him
He’s taken to forcing me down on my knees
And I’m confused ’cause he’s hurting me while he says please
And he’s only a man, and these things he just needs
He’s my boyfriend, so why am I filled with unease?
It’s 2017 and I live like a queen
And I’ve followed damn near every one of my dreams
I’m invincible and I’m so f***ing naive
I believe I’m protected ’cause I live on a screen
Nobody would dare act that way around me
I’ve earned my protection, eternally clean
Until a man that I trust gets his hands in my pants
But I don’t want none of that, I just wanted to dance
And I wake up the next morning like I’m in a trance and there’s blood
Is that my blood?
Hold on a minute
You see I’ve worked every day since I was 18
I’ve toured everywhere from Japan to Mar-a-Lago
I even went on stage that night in Chicago when I was having a miscarriage
I mean, I pied the piper, I put on a diaper
And sang out my spleen to a room full of teens
What do you mean this happened to me?
You can’t put your hands on me
You don’t know what my body has been through
I’m supposed to be safe now
I earned it
It’s 2018 and I’ve realized nobody is safe long as she is alive
And every friend that I know has a story like mine
And the world tells me we should take it as a compliment
But then heroes like Ashley and Simone and Gabby, McKayla and Gaga, Rosario, Aly
Remind me this is the beginning, it is not the finale
And that’s why we’re here
And that’s why we rally
It’s Olympians and a medical resident and not one f***ing word from the man who is President
It’s about closed doors and secrets and legs and stilettos from the Hollywood hills to the projects in ghettos
When babies are ripped from the arms of teen mothers and child brides cry globally under the covers
Who don’t have a voice on the magazine covers
They tell us take cover
But we are not free until all of us are free
So love your neighbor, please treat her kindly
Ask her story and then shut up and listen
Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian
Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs
Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues
For the people who had to grow up way too young
There is work to be done
There are songs to be sung
Lord knows there’s a war to be won
By: Eric W. Dolan of Psypost
A new study suggests that differences in personality traits account for the link between marijuana use and enhanced creativity.
“I became interested in this topic upon the realization that a number of my favorite musicians and artists were well known for their cannabis use, and that this cannabis use was commonly thought to have been a cause of the creative success of many artists,” explained study author Emily LaFrance, a graduate student at Washington State University.
“I began to wonder about this commonly held idea – are cannabis users really more creative than non-users? And if so, is this because cannabis use makes them more creative, or is something else causing differences in creativity between users and non-users?”
For their study, which was published in Consciousness and Cognition, the researchers had 412 cannabis users and 309 non-users complete a series of psychological tests.
They found that cannabis users tended to be more extraverted and also tended to be more open to new experiences.
Cannabis users self-reported higher levels of artistic creativity than non-users, but they did not report a higher number of creative works or achievements.
Cannabis users also performed better than non-users on a test of convergent thinking — meaning the creative process of narrowing down potential solutions to find one correct answer.
But the statistical relationship between cannabis use and creativity disappeared when the researchers accounted for the effect of openness to experience. The results suggest that cannabis users’ higher levels of openness to experience are responsible for their enhanced creativity.
By: Chloe Farand if The Independent
A Japanese company is granting its non-smoking staff an additional six days of holiday a year to make up for the time off smokers take for cigarette breaks.
Marketing firm Piala Inc introduced the new paid leave allowance in September after non-smokers complained they were working more than their colleagues who smoked.
Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesman for the company, told The Telegraph: “One of our non-smoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box earlier in the year saying that smoking breaks were causing problems.”
Following the suggestion, the company’s CEO Takao Asuka decided to give non-smoking employees extra time off to compensate, Mr Matsushima added.
The matter has been taken seriously by the Tokyo-based company which is reportedly based on the 29th floor of an office block — making any cigarette break last at least 15 minutes, according to staff.
Mr Asuka hopes the scheme will create an incentive for the company’s staff to quit smoking.
Efforts to reduce the number of smokers and impose tougher anti-smoking regulations have been seen across Japan in recent months.
By: Ken Klippenstein of The Daily Beast
Puerto Rico has agreed to pay a reported $300 million for the restoration of its power grid to a tiny utility company that is primarily financed by a private-equity firm founded and run by a man who contributed large sums of money to President Trump, an investigation conducted by The Daily Beast has found.
Whitefish Energy Holdings, which had a reported staff of only two full-time employees when Hurricane Maria touched down, appears ill-equipped to handle the daunting task of restoring electricity to Puerto Rico’s more than 3 million residents.
Much larger utilities are more commonly used following natural disasters on the scale of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island last month.
The private-equity firm that finances Whitefish, HBC Investments, was founded by Joe Colonnetta, who serves as its general partner.
Federal Elections Commission data compiled by The Daily Beast shows Colonnetta contributed $20,000 to the Trump Victory PAC during the general election, $2,700 to Trump’s primary election campaign (then the maximum amount permitted), $2,700 to Trump’s general election campaign (also the maximum), and a total of $30,700 to the Republican National Committee in 2016 alone.
Colonnetta’s wife, Kimberly, is no stranger to Republican politics either; shortly after Trump’s victory, she gave $33,400 to the Republican National Committee, the maximum contribution permitted for party committees in 2016.
Joe Colonnetta is not the only Republican connection to the controversial Whitefish contract. On Monday, The Washington Post reported that Whitefish Chief Executive Officer Andy Techmanski is friends with Trump administration Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Moreover, Whitefish is located in Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Monatana.