Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

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Cat in a Quandary

ABOUT 100 MILES NORTH of Bangor, Maine, lies 32-mile-long Moosehead Lake, surrounded by rolling, wooded country. A few miles above the tiny town of Greenville, a pinpoint at the southern tip of the lake, the paved highway that brings visitors from the south fades into a gravel logging road, and clear-cuts sprawl on all sides—vast swaths of sun-drenched meadows erupting with the renewed growth of young trees. These regenerating stands are key habitat for threatened Canada lynx.

Cat in a Quandary – National Wildlife Magazine

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Target Stores to Phase Out Vinyl Plastic Products

The retail chain is been persuaded by the arguments of the New York-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice and a coalition of health and environmental organizations that mounted an anti-PVC campaign in October 2006, complete with a blowup plastic yellow duck that is displayed at protest actions in front of stores

Testing has detected toxic lead and phthalates and in a broad range of PVC consumer products, including toys, lunchboxes, baby bibs, jewelry, garden hoses, mini blinds, Christmas trees, and electronics.

Target Stores to Phase Out Vinyl Plastic Products

There are even more cogent (although less compelling) arguments against PVC.

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Vilayanur Ramachandran: A journey to the center of your mind

Vilayanur Ramachandran explores how brain damage can reveal the connection between the internal structures of the brain and the corresponding functions of the mind. He talks about phantom limb pain, synesthesia (when people hear color or smell sounds), and the Capgras delusion, when brain-damaged people believe their closest friends and family have been replaced with imposters.

Watch this talk >>

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Headlines from MedPage Today

24-Hour Blood Pressure Measurement Urged for Cardiovascular Prediction (CME/CE)

Belgium — Night-time and day-time blood pressure predicts different
cardiovascular endpoints, according to a large multinational study. [more]

AHRP: Women Find Menstrual Suppression Attractive Idea but Question Safety 

— Patients seem more skeptical than their doctors do on the safety of
menstrual suppression with continuous-use oral contraceptives, but the
women like the idea, survey results suggested [more]

IDSA: More Data Support H. pylori�-Asthma Link (CME/CE)

DIEGO — Eradication of Helicobacter pylori may have had the unintended
consequence of unleashing an asthma threat even as the risk of gastric
ulcer and cancer declined, results of a study reported here suggest. [more]

Thalidomide Improves Survival for Older Multiple Myeloma Patients (CME/CE)

France — Older treatment-na�ve stages II or III multiple myeloma
patients have a survival advantage when thalidomide (Thalomid) is added
to standard therapy, researchers found in a randomized trial. [more]

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Pangea Day — Get Involved!

The project is taking off, and its ambition level is spectacular. On May 10, 2008 – Pangea Day – sites in New York City, Rio, London, Dharamsala, Cairo, Jerusalem, and Kigali will be video-conferenced live to produce a 4-hour program of powerful films – supplemented by visionary speakers, and global musicians. The purpose: to use the power of film to promote better understanding of our common humanity. A global audience will watch through the Internet, television, digital cinemas, and mobile phones.

A powerful advisory board has come together to support the project. It includes:

  • JJ Abrams
  • Lawrence Bender
  • Nancy Buirski
  • lan Cumming
  • Ami Dar
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Goldie Hawn
  • Vik Muniz
  • Clare Munn
  • Eboo Patel
  • Alexander Payne
  • Meg Ryan
  • Deborah Scranton
  • Jeff Skoll
  • Philippe Starck
  • Yossi Vardi
  • Kevin Wall

If you’re interested learning more and/or helping out, please send an email to Pangea Day executive director Delia Cohen ( More details are available at the project’s beautiful website:

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Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain

The results show “there are two cognitive styles — a liberal style and a conservative style,” said UCLA neurologist Dr. Marco Iacoboni…

Los Angeles Times: Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain

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Study Supports ‘Pot Belly Theory’ that High Waist-to-Hip Ratio is Best Predictor of Heart Disease

Aug. 13, 2007 – A new study has found that people with a larger waist-to-hip ratio may be at increased risk for heart disease. Sometimes referred to as the “pot belly” theory, many are claiming this WHR measurement should be considered along side the body mass index (BMI) measurement used most often by physicians to measure obesity. A similar conclusion was reached in 2006 by researchers looking at obesity in the elderly and its relationship as a cause of death.

Study Supports ‘Pot Belly Theory’ that High Waist-to-Hip Ratio is Best Predictor of Heart Disease

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Chestnut tree poised for comeback

Restoring the species to its former glory has been the life’s work of
Fred Hebard, whom some regard as the American chestnut tree’s Johnny
Appleseed. What he’s growing on his research farm in Meadowview is a
tree now 15/16ths American chestnut that will grow tall and true, with
1/16 Chinese chestnut resistance [to chestnut blight]. …

Chestnut tree poised for comeback |

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Environmental News from ENS

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Is Monogamy Natural?

AlterNet: Sex & Relationships: Is Monogamy Natural?

Sometimes those two collude. Sometimes they collide. But among heterosexuals at least, both indiscriminate lust and what biologists call the pair-bond are hyperpowered programs streamlined through millions of years of evolution to produce one paramount result: offspring, preferably those who will live long enough to reproduce.